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CMS Energy


Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Publication Year



In the late 1990s, the international financial newspapers were full of gas and electricity headlines. With deregulation and privatisation proceeding apace around the world, these once staid sectors had spawned a slew of deal activity and become a hot area for investment bankers and consultants. Almost every week seemed to bring news of fresh business development opportunities for rapidly expanding international energy players: a gas distributor to be privatised in Brazil, a new set of power plants to be built in India, British generation assets for sale, and a take over battle for a Chilean electricity distributor. In the run up to the bidding for these international transactions, the same names kept popping up: Shell, formerly state-run Electricite de France, Endesa of Spain, and Tractebel, along with maverick independents like Enron, Southern Co., and AES. Particularly when assets and projects in Latin America, the Middle East, or selected areas of the Far East were in play, the end game for major deals invariably included the Michigan utility CMS Energy (CMS). In just a few years of international activity, CMS had established itself as a force in the global power industry. At a 1998 meeting for institutional investors in London, CEO Bill McCormick could proudly speak of CMS belonging to the select group of power companies that had established “worldwide Credibility”. “CMS” he said, “has no fear of any competitor, no matter how big”



LBS Case Number


Project Funder

Research Promotion Foundation


H Korine

Available on ECCH


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