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Mayor: City/State Prepared Strong Bid For Utilities

By Rick HowlettLouisville Mayor Jerry Abramson says the city and state put together a competitive bid package for Kentucky's two major utiltity companies but the process hit a snag several days ago.Instead, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities will be purchased by Pennsylvania-based PPL Corporation for $6.7 billion, it was announced Wednesday.Abramson says local and state officials secured financial backing to bid on the properties, but couldn't meet parent company E.ON's requirement for a so-called "break-up fee," tens of millions of dollars that would be forfeited if the deal fell through."We worked all weekend trying to think of innovative ways to respond to that question and give the seller confidence that we would be able to meet that requirement and we were simply unable to do that," he said Wednesday night.Abramson says he's received assurances that no jobs will be lost as a result of the sale, and the two utilities will remain headquartered in Louisville and Lexington.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.