(Updates share prices in last paragraph.)
Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Energy Transfer Equity LP reached an agreement with staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission, clearing the way for the final regulatory approval needed to complete its $5.46 billion purchase of Southern Union Co.
Under the settlement, which must be approved by the four commissioners, Dallas-based Energy Transfer agreed not to increase utility rates because of the merger and to shield a Missouri subsidiary from harm in the event of a credit-rating downgrade, according to a filing today with the state regulator. Southern Union’s Missouri Gas Energy sells natural gas to customers in the Kansas City area.
“We’re on track for closing sometime in mid-to-late March,” Energy Transfer Chief Financial Officer Martin Salinas said on an earnings conference call today.
Energy Transfer agreed in July to pay $44.25 a share in cash and partnership units for Houston-based Southern Union, which owns 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) of interstate gas lines. The price was increased after Williams Cos. made a counteroffer to buy Southern Union.
Energy Transfer Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren said Dec. 9 the company may sell some of the pipelines it’s acquiring to Williams.
“There’s probably less desire on our part to have any substantial divestitures,” Warren said today.
Energy Transfer rose 3 percent to $43.15 at the close in New York. Southern Union gained 1 percent to $43.72, the highest price since July 25.
--Editors: Tina Davis, Susan Warren
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