27 February 2007

Global Climate Change: Can't Beat 'Em? Buy 'Em!

Elizabeth Souder reported this morning in the Dallas Morning News that the TXU Corporation board accepted an offer on Sunday to sell the company for around $45 billion. The deal will take the power company private and kill plans to build eight coal-fired power plants, according to people familiar with the situation.

Private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, along with Goldman Sachs, bid for the Dallas power company in the largest buyout offer ever.

Sources confirmed that the TXU board had accepted and said TXU will publicly announce the deal early Monday. News of the offer began leaking out on Friday. TXU officials have declined to comment, and the buyers have remained officially mum.

The deal comes with an unusual pact between the buyers and two environmental groups to scale back the coal plant building program to three plants from the original 11, and to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The buyers also plan to cut consumer electricity prices.

The buyers negotiated the pact with advocacy groups Environmental Defense and Natural Resources Defense Council to help clear TXU's name, after the company's plans to build 11 coal-fired power plants had outraged environmentalists, politicians, business leaders and even Southern Baptists. The coal plant plan became a symbol of global warming nationally, as Congress debates whether to place limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

"The buyers decided that they wanted to take this company in a different direction, a direction that treats global warming as a reality and an imperative in developing business plans," said David Hawkins, director of NRDC's climate center, in an interview over the weekend.

Read the complete story: TXU Buyout

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