Energy Giant TXU to Go Private in $32 Billion Deal Energy giant TXU agrees to be acquired by a group of private-equity firms in a deal worth $32 billion. If approved, it would be the largest leveraged buyout in U.S. history. The bidders are making concessions to environmentalists to help push the deal through.
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Energy Giant TXU to Go Private in $32 Billion Deal

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Energy Giant TXU to Go Private in $32 Billion Deal

Energy Giant TXU to Go Private in $32 Billion Deal

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

TXU: And as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, they're offering some unusually sweeteners to environmentalist to make the deal happen.

WADE GOODWYN: It was like a bolt from the blue. Henry Kravis and a team of other big hitters were buying TXU for 32 billion. The deal is a result of two powerful economic realities: the low cost of capital means more money is available for ever-larger buyouts. And the second is that really big energy companies - whether it's ExxonMobil or TXU - are doing really well these days.

BILL REILLY: I think this is a history-making deal.

GOODWYN: Bill Reilly is a senior adviser to Texas Pacific, which along with Kohlberg Kravis and Goldman Sachs Group is buying TXU.

REILLY: Texas and the - particularly, the market area served by TXU - is a fast-growing area of the country. It's increasing its energy use. The company has responded to that energy use very successfully. And I think the market history for the company reflects that. That's one thing that made us so attractive to the investors.

GOODWYN: Henry Kravis - the original barbarian at the gate, arguably the biggest private dealmaker of all time - was going to be making this appearance in Texas dressed as Lancelot. Bill Reilly.

REILLY: Well, I think it became clear to all of us as investors that were willing to do anything significant in energy in Texas or anywhere else - given the climate today, given the attitude towards the environment - we had to do it responsibly. And we wanted to do it in concert with some of the most authoritative and involved environmental groups who understand this issue and care deeply about it.

TOM SMITH: We are stunned and elated that this deal has gone down.

GOODWYN: Tom Smith is the director of Public Citizen in Texas, whose group - along with Environmental Defense - has been fighting TXU for the past year. It was a loosing battle they were waging against the utility company, and its biggest advocate: Texas Governor Rick Perry. Now victory has been snatched from defeat, at least for now.

SMITH: We've thought, at most, we might have been able to knock off three or four of the 11 plants, so taking eight of them off the table is far beyond our wildest hopes.

GOODWYN: And the investors have also promised to cut electric rates to Texas consumers by 10 percent. Their problem for the anti-coal plant coalition in Texas is that even if TXU says it's not going to build all those coal plants, that doesn't mean other utility companies won't. In fact, that was the point Governor Rick Perry's office wanted to emphasize - Texas is still open for business. Ted Royer is with the Governor's Office.

TED ROYER: A population of about 23 million right now. That population's going to double in the next few decades. So there is abundant opportunity in Texas for any company that wants to come in and, you know, help Texas meet those energy needs.

GOODWYN: Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

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