Canada's AltaGas in talks on a potential merger deal

Canadian energy infrastructure company AltaGas Ltd yesterday said that it was in talks with a third party over a potential transaction.

AltaGas, based in Calgary, Canada, did not name the suitor, but the Wall Street Journal said AltaGas was is in talks with WGL Holdings Inc on a potential $5 billion - $6 billion deal.

''While we are in discussions regarding a potential transaction with a third party, no agreement has been reached and there is no assurance that these discussions will continue or that any transaction will be agreed upon,'' AltaGas said in a statement.

''Until such time as it is appropriate to make a public announcement on any potential transaction, should one occur, AltaGas will not comment further on this matter. Any announcement regarding a potential transaction will be disclosed in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements,'' the statement added.

Bloomberg had in November reported that WGL was weighing options, including a sale, after receiving takeover interest from Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola SA.

AltaGas, which deals in gas and power distribution, natural gas pipe-lining and processing as well as storage in Canada and the US, has a market cap of about $4.3 billion, while WGL has a market value of about $4.3 billion.

Washington, DC-based WGL is a diversified energy business that provides natural gas, electricity, green power, carbon reduction and energy services and natural gas exploration, production, and storage though its subsidiaries, including Washington Gas, Washington Energy Services, WGL Midstream, and Hampshire Gas.

It serves customers in the districts of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.