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Peoples Shareholders OK WPS Merger

Shareholders of Chicago-based Peoples Energy Corp. approved the proposed merger of the company with WPS Resources Corp. (see Daily GPI, July 11). The transaction is now expected to close in the first quarter of 2007 pending regulatory approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The combined company will be called Integrys Energy Group Inc. and will have assets of about $9.2 billion, and its market capitalization will approach $4 billion. On the regulated side, the company will have more than 1.6 million natural gas customers and nearly half a million electric customers, with operations in four states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

Each share of Peoples Energy common stock outstanding immediately prior to completion of the merger will be converted into the right to receive 0.825 shares of WPS Resources common stock.

WPS Resources shareholders approved the issuance of shares of common stock associated with the company's pending merger with Peoples Energy. Shareholders also approved an amendment to WPS Resources' restated articles of incorporation to change the name of WPS Resources Corp. to Integrys Energy Group Inc. with the merger's closing.

WPS Resources, based in Green Bay, WI, is a holding company with five major subsidiaries providing electric and natural gas energy and related services in both regulated and nonregulated energy markets. Its largest subsidiary is Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a regulated electric and natural gas utility serving northeastern Wisconsin and a portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Wisconsin Public Service serves more than 425,000 electric customers and 308,000 natural gas customers. Another subsidiary, Upper Peninsula Power Co., is a regulated electric utility that serves approximately 52,000 electric customers in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Michigan Gas Utilities Corp. is a regulated natural gas utility serving 161,000 customers in lower Michigan. Minnesota Energy Services Corp. is a regulated natural gas utility serving more than 200,000 customers throughout Minnesota.

WPS Resources' major nonregulated subsidiary is WPS Energy Services Inc., a diversified energy supply and services company serving commercial, industrial and wholesale customers and aggregated groups of residential customers. Its principal market is the northeast quadrant of the United States and adjacent portions of Canada.

Peoples Energy is a diversified energy company consisting of gas distribution, oil and gas production and energy marketing. Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, regulated utilities, deliver natural gas to about 1 million customers in Chicago and 54 communities in northeastern Illinois. The company's nonutility businesses include Peoples Energy Services (PESC) and Peoples Energy Production (PEP). PESC, launched in 1996, serves more than 40,000 customers. PEP, founded in 1998, is primarily focused on acquiring proven onshore reserves with upside potential in a limited number of strategic supply basins.

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