TransCanada Corp. has held talks with Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. about a potential takeover, according to people familiar with the matter, as it seeks to expand in the U.S.

Talks about a possible transaction are at a standstill and at the moment a deal is less likely to happen, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter isn’t public. TransCanada said Thursday it is in talks about a deal with an unidentified company, after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is negotiating a potential takeover of Columbia Pipeline.

James Yardley, a spokesman for Columbia, declined to comment by telephone on “market rumors and speculation,” citing corporate policy.

Buying Columbia would give TransCanada a position in the heart of the Marcellus shale play, potentially connecting rising volumes of cheap natural gas to its existing system.

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