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EDF drops opposition to Exelon-Constellation deal

Electricite de France, Constellation Energy Group’s largest shareholder and up to now the biggest critic of the company’s planned $7.9 billion acquisition by Exelon Corp., said Tuesday it was now on board with the deal.

The French utility giant had been blasting the deal for months in testimony before the Maryland Public Service Commission, which has the power to approve the merger.

Baltimore-based Constellation and EDF have a joint venture, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, which operates three nuclear facilities in Maryland and New York, including the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby

EDF said Tuesday it was withdrawing its opposition to the deal because an agreement had been reached that reaffirmed the terms of the joint venture. The companies said no money changed hands as part of the deal.

“We are pleased to come to agreement with EDF, a significant Constellation shareholder, as well as our future partner on the CENG nuclear joint venture. This agreement reflects additional positive momentum toward the timely consummation of our merger with Constellation,” Exelon President and COO Christopher M. Crane said in a statement.

The PSC has to decide whether the deal is in the best interest of the customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., Constellation’s regulated utility. The deadline was pushed back to Feb. 17 after Gov. Martin O’Malley, his administration and the companies came to an agreement that called for Exelon to make concessions valued at more than $1 billion, up from a previous offer of $515 million.

Chicago-based Exelon, which will be the surviving entity after the merger, agreed to develop or to help develop as much as 270 megawatts of new power plant capacity in Maryland, 54 percent more than a Dec. 5 offer.

A $100 credit to all BGE ratepayers was included in the deal, but was not doubled as recommended by the staff of the PSC.