The Federal Trade Commission in the US has approved Northwestern Energy’s plans to purchase 11 hydroelectric generating facilities and related assets from PPL Montana, marking a major step forward for the $900 million transaction.

The antitrust approval satisfies a key condition in the purchase-sale agreement between NorthWestern and PPL Montana. The proposed purchase now requires the approval of Montana Public Service Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"We’ve passed a major milestone at the federal level," said John Hines, Vice President-Supply at NorthWestern Energy. "Review by the Montana Public Service Commission, including the support the transaction is receiving at listening sessions the Commission is holding around Montana, is now key to allowing us to dedicate these great assets to serve our Montana customers at prices based on the cost of providing power, not the western power market."

NorthWestern and PPL Montana announced the proposed transaction in September 2013. Formal application with the Montana Public Service Commission was filed in December and a decision is expected by September 2014.

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