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Ind. regulators approve Vectren acquisition by CenterPoint

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has issued a final order on the pending $6 billion acquisition of in-state utility Vectren Corp. by Houston-headquartered CenterPoint Energy Inc., raising no jurisdictional issues.

The commission said in the final order issued Jan. 16 that although it did not have any authority over the stock merger between the two companies, it does have jurisdiction to review the merger's impact on Vectren Utility Holdings Inc.'s retail customers. Vectren operates mainly through Indiana Gas Co. Inc. and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. in Indiana and Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio Inc. in Ohio.

CenterPoint Energy said in the application with the Indiana regulators that it will not recover any merger-related costs of merger from ratepayers. The company also committed to adhere to its existing affiliate and cost allocation guidelines. (Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Cause No. 45109)

The pending merger is now awaiting a final order from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the last regulatory approval needed, the companies said in a joint news release Jan. 16. The deal has already secured approvals from Vectren shareholders, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Federal Communications Commission, and has cleared the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period. It is expected to close during the first quarter of 2019.

Under the transaction, CenterPoint Energy will pay $72.00 in cash for all outstanding Vectren Corp. shares and take on $2.11 billion of net Vectren debt. The resulting company will keep the CenterPoint name and be headquartered in Houston, and have an enterprise value of $27 billion. The combined company would serve more than 4 million natural gas customers and 2.5 million electric customers.