Cleco stock surges on report of $5 billion offer

Cleco Corp. shares jumped 6 percent Thursday after TheDeal.com reported the Pineville-based utility received an unsolicited $5 billion offer from Borealis Infrastructure, a Canadian firm.

Cleco shares spiked to $56.37 following the report before settling at $55.98 for the day, up $3.15 from Wednesday’s closing price. TheDeal.com story, which quoted an anonymous source, says Cleco wants $61 to $62 per share and has hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser. Cleco’s stock has traded as low as $43.69 in the past 52 weeks. Trading volume of more than 889,000 shares Thursday was more than twice the stock’s recent average.

Cleco spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper said the company does not comment on rumor and market speculation.

Colby Cook, a spokesman for the Louisiana Public Service Commission, said the commission hasn’t received any filings about a potential sale of Cleco.

The PSC would have to review any acquisition and give its approval, he said. Historically, the commission has denied efforts to recover the cost of acquisitions through rate increases.

Last year, Cleco shopped itself around but dropped the idea because there was such a large gap between what the utility asked and what it was offered, according to TheDeal.com.

Cleco subsidiary Cleco Power, a regulated electric utility, serves about 284,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Cleco Power owns 11 generating units.