Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) is free to close its $15 billion privatization following a Thursday approval of the deal from the California Public Utilities Commission, the company said.

The deal, which was announced one year ago (see Daily GPI, May 31, 2006), is expected to close this quarter. Shareholders of KMI are to receive $107.50 cash per share. Investors in the deal include KMI CEO Richard Kinder and co-founder Bill Morgan, Carlyle Holdings LLC and a unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Kinder will continue as CEO and chairman following the deal’s close and has said he will reinvest all of his 24 million shares in the company.

The approval had been expected (see Daily GPI, April 19). Previous approvals were received in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming (see Daily GPI, March 5). The Federal Trade Commission approved the deal in January (see Daily GPI, Jan. 29). Shareholders approved the deal in December (see Daily GPI, Dec. 20, 2006).

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