FTC Withdraws Proposed Consent Agreement, Closes Pacificorp Investigation

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The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it was withdrawing a proposed consent agreement with PacifiCorp and closing the investigation into the company’s proposed acquisition of The Energy Group PLC. The proposed settlement was intended to alleviate the agency’s concern that PacifiCorp’s acquisition of TEG’s Peabody Coal unit would give PacifiCorp the incentive and ability to raise the price (or otherwise diminish the availability) of coal, a necessary input for certain firms competing with PacifiCorp in electricity generation, and to gain access, through Peabody's coal contracts and coal supply relationships, to sensitive data about costs and operating conditions of competing generators of electrical power.

According to a statement issued by the agency, "During the public comment period on the consent agreement, PacifiCorp withdrew its bid for TEG (and eventually sold virtually all of its TEG stock) in the face of Texas Utilities Company’s competing tender offer for TEG. ... PacifiCorp’s withdrawal of its bid for TEG and its voluntary divestiture of essentially its entire interest in TEG accomplished the consent order’s divestiture requirement. Issuance of a final order would serve no purpose, and, in any event, the order would have expired almost immediately. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to withdraw from the consent agreement and close this investigation."

The Commission vote to withdraw the proposed consent agreement and close the investigation was 4-0.

(See news release dated February 18, 1998; FTC File No. 971 0091; Staff contact is Rhett Krulla, 202-326-2608, or Joseph G. Krauss, 202-326-2713.)

Copies of the full text of the Commission’s statement and other related documents are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

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