Coal Plant Pusher Gains Green Cred for Buyout

"The biggest leveraged buyout in history was notable not only for its finances, but also for its unusual feature of having multiple PR firms advising both sides of the deal simultaneously," writes PR Week. The Dallas-based energy company TXU (mentioned in a previous Spin about the front groups campaigning for and against its proposed Texas coal plants) will be purchased by three equity firms for $45 billion. The PR firm Public Strategies, Inc. advised both TXU and its purchasers, as did the firm Kekst and Company. Texas Pacific, one of the purchasers, also used Owen Blicksilver PR. O'Dwyer's PR Daily notes that "the buyout is expected to face regulatory, political and environmental concerns and the parties involved immediately moved to head off any immediate fallout," including by securing endorsements from Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The companies promised "a $400M investment in conservation over the next five years," and appointed former Secretary of State James Baker as chair of an "advisory group on climate change."


From [ Reuters]:

The recent decision by Texas utility TXU Corp. to scrap eight of 11 planned coal-fired plants to gain environmental support for its leveraged buyout, has thrown the growth prospects of the coal-mining industry into doubt.

And from [ AlterNet]:

The board of TXU agreed Monday to the terms of the buyout (although they are considering other offers) and environmental groups have hailed the deal as a "watershed moment" in the fight against climate change -- for good reason.

TXU agreed to immediately drop eight of the 11 proposed coal-burning plants; they canceled plans to build coal plants in other states; they came out publicly in support of federal legislation to set limits on CO2 emissions; they agreed to reduce their CO2 emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020 (the terms of the Kyoto Treaty that the U.S. did not sign); and they pledged to double the amount that they spend on wind power and energy efficiency -- agreeing to shell out $400 million to help lower demand through conservation.