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AltaGas branches out, and a few links about the impending Facebook IPO

AltaGas makes a bet on natural gas. Wait, what?

Feb 2, 2012

by Max Fawcett

Natural gas prices might be in the dumps right now, but that isn’t stopping AltaGas Ltd. from expanding its presence in the industry. The Calgary-based energy producer and pipeline operator closed a deal yesterday to purchase SEMCO Energy from Continental Energy Systems LLC for $1.1 billion. The SEMCO acquisition extends the reach of AltaGas infrastructure in the north, as SEMCO owns a regulated natural gas distribution company in Alaska. It also has gas storage and distribution facilities in Michigan.

The acquisition may not be good news in the short-term for AltaGas shareholders, though, as the company intends to finance the deal by issuing approximately $350 million in equity as well as drawing on a new $300 million (U.S.) credit line as well as its existing $1 billion credit facility and taking on $355 million in debt from Continental.

Elsewhere in the news…

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The impending Facebook IPO is probably the biggest story on Wall Street today. If you’re thinking of investing, parse the entrails of the filing documents for information about the state of the company and just how profitable it really is and find out who’s about to become a millionaire (or billionaire) as a result of the IPO.

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