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Enron-Portland General Bid Advances

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Federal regulators approved Enron Corp.'s planned purchase of Portland General Corp., a move that bodes well for other natural gas companies seeking to buy electric utilities. The $3.2-billion acquisition will give Houston-based Enron, a natural gas company that’s also a big seller of electricity, a foothold in the West as California prepares to deregulate its electric-utility industry. The merger is the first involving an electric and gas company, the first to test the new rules and the first to be approved without a hearing since 1992. The merger still faces a hurdle in Oregon, where regulators want the companies to agree to cut rates for Portland General’s customers. Enron shares lost 27.5 cents to close at $40.75; Portland General shares rose 12.5 cents to close at $39.625. Both trade on the New York Stock Exchange.


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