As low gas prices continue to prevail, Atlanta, Ga.-based Southern Co. (SO) agreed to acquire Atlanta, Ga.-based AGL Resources Inc. (GAS) in a deal with an equity value of $8 billion. The public utility company will pay $66 per share in cash for the smaller utility in a deal with an enterprise value of $12 billion. The deal will create the largest U.S. utility by customers after Exelon Corp. (EXC). AGL's stock jumped 26.6% on the news to $60.64 in morning trading while Southern's stock slid 3.3% to $44.27. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of next year. The combined entity will have nearly 200,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines and 80,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. Southern, like many of its peers, has been attempting to branch out into other energy sources like renewables. The company acquired Longview Solar LLC's Pawpaw solar facility, a 30 megawatt project, in June. Southern subsidiary Southern Power is developing a total of 385 megawatts of solar generation in the state.

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