Feb 29 (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Inc can proceed with its $21 billion acquisition of El Paso Corp to combine the two largest natural gas pipeline operators in North America after a Delaware judge refused to block the deal.
"I reluctantly deny the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction," Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine wrote on Wednesday. "El Paso stockholders should not be deprived of the chance to decide for themselves about the merger, despite the disturbing nature of some of the behavior leading to its terms."
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, the companies have said. El Paso shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposed deal on March 6.