Buffett digs his claws deeper into Constellation
This just in from Constellation Energy. The company was supposed to close on a $2 billion line of credit today that would have shored up its liquidity and increased its options. But RBS Securities and UBS Loan Finance will front only up to $1.25 billion now, and the deal might not close until Nov. 26.
Constellation is trying to make up the difference elsewhere -- including maybe with more cash from Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings, the company that has agreed to buy Constellation for the fire sale price of $4.7 billion. Buffett rescued Constellation in mid-September by injecting $1 billion, but he insisted on being able to buy the whole company as part of the agreement.
The Constellation/MidAmerican buyout must be approved by shareholders and the Public Service Commission. Last week I wrote about the chances that shareholders could reject the deal and Constellation could slip out of Buffett's grasp. It was always a long shot, but this lowers the chances even more.
From Constellation's press release:
Constellation Energy announced that the closing of the previously announced credit facility has been extended to no later than Nov. 26 and currently expects to receive total commitments from the banks of approximately $1.0 billion to $1.25 billion. The company also announced that it is exploring other alternatives with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company and other parties to provide additional liquidity of up to $750 million.
"Despite the very challenging credit environment, we are making significant progress toward meeting our liquidity needs. We believe the combination of the $1.0 billion investment by MidAmerican, the expected size of the credit facility, and the progress toward and expected impact of achieving our strategic initiatives provides sufficient liquidity to manage our business and successfully close the merger," said [Constellation CEO Mayo] Shattuck.