The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, December 18, 2004  

For Just $12 Billion

I see in today’s New York Times that one can buy one’s way into public service for a mere $12 billion.

Okay, it’s not what you think.

What’s happening is that Exelon Corp. is in the advanced stages of negotiations to acquire Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (See “Biggest Utility in New Jersey Seen as Target of Acquisition,” by Jad Mouawad and Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times, December 18.)

Exelon, based in Chicago, was formed through the 2000 acquisition by PECO Energy Inc., the parent of Philadelphia Electric Co., of Unicom Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison Co. of Chicago.

In turn, Public Service Enterprise, headquartered in Newark, N.J., is the parent company of Public Service Electric & Gas Co., the largest regulated energy utility in New Jersey.

A combination of Exelon and PSEG, both of which rely more heavily than most electricity producers on nuclear-generated power, would create the largest utility holding company in the U.S., according to the Times.

Um, Jim? Electric utilities?

Fascinating stuff, huh? Look, back in the early-to-mid stages of my pre-blogging life I spent many hours over the course of many years analyzing and reporting on the electric- and gas-utility industries (among several others) and their associated investment opportunities.

In life there are some things of which it’s hard to let go. Although this subject area, even for me, doesn’t rank at the very top of such a list, its pull, and whence it comes I have no idea, remains surprisingly strong.

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