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PacifiCorp sale set to be wrapped up early
JOHN BOWKER DEPUTY CITY EDITOR, 12/29/05
SCOTTISHPOWER is expected to complete its sale of US division PacifiCorp about six months ahead of schedule - news that is likely to revive takeover speculation around the Glasgow utility early in the new year.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett - who agreed a $9.4 billion (£5.4 billion) price-tag for Portland-based PacifiCorp in June - has signed a breakthrough agreement with regulators and consumer groups in Oregon to gain ownership of the firm, and has entered the final stages of the protracted deal.
ScottishPower said in June that it would take 12-18 months for the deal to clear, but it is understood that Buffett's energy group MidAmercian is now aiming at the first quarter of 2006, with the best money on a February close.
Analysts have predicted that the sale of PacifiCorp will make the utility a clear candidate for a takeover, a sentiment likely to support the group's shares. It has already fended off a £10.7bn, 570p-a-share offer from German group E.ON, a suitor now not allowed to return until the end of May.
MidAmercian won approval from Oregon to take over PacifiCorp after a promise to keep most of the group's 1,200 local employees in jobs. The Oregon Public Utility Commission had previously rejected the deal, but was won over by the jobs pledge as well as an award of rate credits.
The group has already secured approval from authorities in Utah.
This article: http://business.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=2465802005
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