Piedmont Natural Gas shareholders voted Friday to approve the Charlotte company’s $4.9 billion acquisition by Duke Energy.
At a specially called meeting, 66.8 percent of shares outstanding voted in favor of the deal, which was announced in October.
Piedmont shareholders will get $60 a share for their stock, a 42 percent premium over its trading price before the acquisition was announced. The vote was not nearly as close as the approval percentage suggests.
Of the 80 to 81 million shares eligible to vote, 54 million voted for approval and 1.1 million against, according to securities filings.
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The companies filed last week for approval of the acquisition by the North Carolina Utilities Commission and, in Tennessee, a transfer of Piedmont’s operating license there.
The Federal Trade Commission previously granted early termination of its antitrust review period.
Piedmont will keep its name and its southeast Charlotte headquarters after the acquisition. Chairman and CEO Tom Skains will retire when it closes late this year but will join Duke’s board.
Because the deal isn’t predicated on cost savings, as many mergers are, Duke doesn’t expect significant job losses to occur. Piedmont employs 1,900 people, including about 700 in the Charlotte area.
Duke has said customers won’t be hurt either. It filed an analysis last week that estimates one-time costs of the acquisition at $4.75 million and annual benefits at $9.45 million.
Piedmont, formed in 1951, already pipes natural gas to most of Duke’s gas-fired power plants in the Carolinas. Duke Energy Carolinas, the utility that serves Charlotte, expects natural gas to fuel nearly half of its new generation over the next 15 years.
The two companies also have major stakes in a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline into Eastern North Carolina. Piedmont holds stakes in five other joint ventures, including pipelines, storage and marketing, that Duke would assume.