North Carolina Probes Duke Merger

    In this Feb. 14, 2012 photo, Duke Energy employees work on power lines in Charlotte, N.C.  Duke Energy Corp. fourth quarter earnings fell 33 percent because mild weather compared with the year earlier reduced demand for electricity. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Chuck Burton / AP Photo

    North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he’ll be taking a closer look at the $17.8 billion merger between utility giants Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The exit of Bill Johnson, formerly CEO of Progress, from the top job at the newly formed company only hours after he stepped into his office has ignited a furor among former Progress board members who say they’d never have approved the deal under these conditions. “This significant management change within hours after the merger has put the company on credit watch,” Cooper wrote in an email, “so we need to get to the bottom of this to make sure we protect consumers.”

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