NRG, the wholesale power generation company with headquarters in Carnegie Center, has received an unsolicited $6.2 billion bid from nuclear power giant and utility operator Exelon. The deal would create the nation’s largest power company.

According to published reports, Excelon, which is based in Chicago, is prepared to launch a hostile takeover if necessary.

NRG, headed by CEO David Crane, has about 240 employees at its Carnegie Center offices.

Shares in NRG soared 20 percent, or $3.91 to $23.18, after news of the takeover broke on Monday, October 20.

The company has urged its shareholders to take no action until the company had time to review the offer.

The combined Exelon and NRG would be big enough to power nearly 45 million homes with 47,000 megawatts.

The bid comes two years after NRG rebuffed a nearly $8 billion offer from energy supplier Mirant Corp. But NRG, like other companies in the energy sector, have been hammered by the credit crisis and a global economic slowdown.

“This company combined would be the largest power company in the nation in terms of assets, market capitalization, enterprise value and generation capacity,” Exelon CEO John Rowe told analysts. “And there is simply no doubt that scale is important in turbulent times and it’s important as the costs of growth continue to rise.

NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), 211 Carnegie Center, Princeton 08540-6213; 609-524-4500; fax, 609-524-4501. David Crane, president and CEO. www.nrgenergy.com.

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