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Kinder Morgan Energy buying Copano for $3.72B

HOUSTON (AP) -- Pipeline company Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP is buying natural gas company Copano Energy LLC for about $3.72 billion in cash so it can offer more services to its customers.

Kinder Morgan Energy will pay $40.91 per Copano unit, which is a 24 percent premium to the company's Tuesday closing price of $33.13. Copano has about 90.9 million outstanding shares, according to FactSet.

The companies put the transaction's total value at approximately $5 billion, including debt.

Kinder Morgan Energy Chairman Richard Kinder said in a statement late Tuesday that it expects to keep most of Copano's approximately 415 workers.

Both companies' boards have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter. It still needs the approval of Copano unitholders.

Both companies are based in Houston.