National Grid, the London-based business interested in
acquiring KeySpan Corp., is an international company primarily involved in
delivering electricity and gas.
A product of 1990s deregulation and restructuring in Great Britain,
National Grid has aggressively pursued U.S. utilities, industry experts said.
Its large U.S. subsidiary was formed in 2000 when the company completed its
acquisition of New England Electric System.
In 2002, National Grid bought its Syracuse-based subsidiary, Niagara Mohawk
And just this month, the company announced an agreement to acquire the
Rhode Island natural gas business and assets of New England Gas Co. from
Southern Union Co.
"They are looking to expand, and they have significant resources," said
Matthew Cordero, director of the Center for Management Analysis and associate
dean for the College of Management at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island
In the United States, the company employs 8,500 people and has five
electricity distribution companies that bring electricity to 3.3 million
customers in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
In addition, the company delivers natural gas to 565,000 customers in
central and eastern New York.
Internationally, National Grid owns the high-voltage electricity
transmission system in England and Wales. It also owns and operates a
high-pressure gas transmission system in Britain, delivering gas to about 11
million customers there.
The company's 2005 revenue totaled $15.9 billion worldwide and $7.1 billion
in the United States.
National Grid is involved in developing wireless network infrastructures
for broadcast and mobile phones, metering and interconnectors.
One project to connect the electricity network on the island state of
Ashok Gupta, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Air and
Energy Program, described National Grid as a well-run company with good senior
management, like Consolidated Edison Inc., which is also rumored to be
interested in KeySpan.
"I think the big difference is that ... [National Grid] is an
international, multistate company that has been growing through mergers," he
said. "And Con Ed, if anything, it has shrunk rather than grown."
Con Ed, though, may have a slight advantage because it is rooted in New
York, he added.