Pineville-based Cleco Corp.’s share price dropped nearly 8 percent the past two day amid reports that the most likely buyer of the power company is having trouble persuading investors to back the acquisition.
Macquarie Group Ltd. had planned to create a special-purpose fund to buy Cleco and manage the utility through its infrastructure group, according to Bloomberg News. The infrastructure company recently paid $1 billion in cash and stock for the remaining half of New Orleans-based International-Matex Tank Terminals.
However, Bloomberg reported that the Australian bank’s co-investors in the special-purpose fund don’t like Cleco because they think the deal will produce poor returns. Critics of the deal believe Cleco’s share price is already high and the utility offers little in the way of future growth.
Cleco’s stock closed Friday at $49.19, down 7.7 percent since Wednesday.
Meanwhile, another potential bidder, Spanish utility Iberdrola SA, is no longer pursuing the acquisition, according to Bloomberg.
As a result of those developments, Cleco is expected to decide soon whether it will continue looking for a buyer.
After summoning Cleco Chief Executive Officer Bruce Williamson to an August meeting, members of the Louisiana Public Service Commission hammered him and the idea of selling the utility. Commissioner Clyde Holloway called for Williamson’s resignation.
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