Duke Energy buying Piedmont Natural Gas for about $4.9B

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy is buying Piedmont Natural Gas for about $4.9 billion in cash.

The companies are key partners in the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will be the first major natural gas pipeline to serve Eastern North Carolina.

Piedmont shareholders will receive $60 in cash for each share of common stock. That's a 42 percent premium to Friday's closing price. Duke Energy Corp. will also assume approximately $1.8 billion in Piedmont debt.

Piedmont Natural Gas Co. will keep its name and maintain its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, and one of its directors will joint Duke's board.

Both companies unanimously approved the transaction, which is targeted to close by 2016's end. It still needs approval from Piedmont shareholders and the North Carolina Utilities Commission.