TXU Corp. board accepts biggest buyout offer in U.S. history

The white-hot controversy over 11 proposed coal plants in Texas has taken on a new hue. The board of TXU Corp., which has kicked up an anti-coal firestorm among businesses, politicians, and citizens, voted yesterday to accept the largest leveraged buyout offer in U.S. history — and the $45 billion deal looks oddly green. The buyout group, led by Goldman Sachs and private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, negotiated with TXU critics Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council to settle pending lawsuits over the company’s original coal-plant plan. In return, the new owners would build three plants instead of 11; support federal legislation to limit greenhouse gases; cut pollution; pursue wind power; spend $400 million to encourage energy efficiency; and cut consumer rates 10 percent. “We didn’t want to be on the wrong side of history,” says one person involved in the deal, which now has to be approved by TXU shareholders. Spooky, ain’t it.