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The North Anna Power Station operated by Dominion Energy in Virginia. Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

Utility giant Dominion Energy is acquiring South Carolina's SCANA Corp. in an all-stock merger that the companies say is valued at $14.6 billion, including debt, according to their joint announcement this morning.

The gritty details: The deal includes $1.3 billion in payments to customers of SCANA's South Carolina Electric & Gas Company in coming months to offset the costs of the company's costly, now-abandoned project to build two new nuclear reactors.

"The combination with SCANA would solidify Dominion Energy's position among the nation's largest and fastest-growing energy utility companies by adding significantly to its presence in the expanding Southeast markets," the announcement states.

SCANA's network includes around 1.6 million residential and business accounts in the Carolinas.

Why it matters: "The acquisition would break a precipitous fall in SCANA's fortunes that began July 31, when SCE&G announced it would join the state-owned Santee Cooper utility in abandoning a $9 billion, 10-year-long effort to build two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County," The State, a major South Carolina newspaper, reported this morning.

What's next: The deal will require various shareholder and regulatory approvals, including blessings from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and other agencies, as well as state regulators in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, the companies said.

Yes, but: Investment firm Height Securities says in a note Wednesday morning that Dominion has work to do before getting its proposal approved.

"In this case especially, Dominion will have to pull out all the stops to demonstrate that their offer is the best deal for customers, particularly given the uncertainty facing [SCANA's] rates over the coming months. We're looking for a reaction from the Governor as well as House Speaker Jay Lucas and the PSC commissioners for early signs of whether Dominion's proposal will fall flat."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

3 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."