FERC to take more time to review Constellation merger

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has delayed its decision on the proposed merger between Baltimore's Constellation Energy Group and Exelon Corp., a move that could push back a closing of the deal until April.

Exelon and Constellation had anticipated FERC would approve the $7.9 billion transaction by Wednesday, but a settlement related to the deal reached in October has added 180 days to the regulatory review period, the companies revealed Monday in regulatory filings.

The companies said they still expected the deal to close in the first quarter of 2012. In a statement, Exelon said it believed that FERC would approve the merger in a "timely manner."

"We do not anticipate this will delay the transaction closing," Chicago-based Exelon said.

In a letter Monday to FERC, Exelon and Constellation asked federal regulators to act on the merger by Jan. 5, which is the deadline the Maryland Public Service Commission established to make a decision on the proposed deal.

"This would be almost three months after the filing of the settlement, and should provide the [federal] commission with an adequate amount of time to evaluate the effects of the settlement and to rule on the proposed merger," the two companies wrote.

Constellation and Exelon reached a settlement with the independent market monitor for the PJM Mid-Atlantic electricity grid, alleviating the monitor's concerns that the combined company would have too much market concentration and could push up prices.

Analysts had expected the settlement to pave the way for an approval by FERC.

FERC considers the October settlement an amendment to the initial merger application, restarting the 180-day review period, according to regulatory filings. That gives FERC until mid-April to make a decision.


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