Duke Energy’s Executive-Suite Coup: End to Stock’s Ascent, or a Noisy Interruption?

Last week, two companies created a utility giant when Duke Energy (DUK) combined with Progress Energy in a $26 billion merger. Progress (PGN) CEO Bill Johnson ran the company – for all of a few hours. Then the Duke-dominated board overthrew him in a coup and installed their own man, Jim Rogers.

Now Progress' directors are furious and say they never would have approved the merger. One called it a “corporate hijacking.” North Carolina’s attorney general, among others, is investigating. Standard & Poor’s said it may cut Duke’s ratings, reports the New York Times.

That’s too bad for investors, who’ve had a pretty good ride until now. The stock’s up 21% since a 2009 low, but the sudden move has rattled the market:

DUK Chart

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