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Southern Once ‘Exceedingly Close’ to Progress Buy, Johnson Says

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July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Southern Co. came “exceedingly close” to buying Progress Energy Inc. before the North Carolina utility owner agreed to a takeover by Duke Energy Corp., former Progress Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said.

“At the end, the price wasn’t right,” Johnson said in testimony to the North Carolina Utilities Commission today in Raleigh. He didn’t say when the talks took place.

The North Carolina commission is investigating Johnson’s ouster as Duke’s CEO hours after the takeover closed July 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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