Two firms that provide research and advice to institutional investors have recommended that the shareholders of Progress Energy and Duke Energy vote in favor of the proposed merger of the two companies.
Such firms can have considerable influence in shareholder votes, mainly because the institutional investors who are their clients typically have much larger stock holdings than other investors. About 800 institutional investors own about 52 percent of the shares of Progress, for example.
Both Duke and Progress will hold votes on the merger at shareholder meetings in Raleigh and Charlotte on Aug. 23.
The N.C. Utilities Commission plans public hearings on the merger starting Sept. 20. Approvals are also required from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.
If approved, the merger would create the largest electric utility in the country.