U.S. utility Duke Energy to add two Elliott-backed directors

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The company logo and ticker for Duke Energy Corp. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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Nov 15 (Reuters) - Duke Energy Corp (DUK.N) would add two directors backed by Elliott Management Corp to its board as part of a deal, the company said on Monday, after the activist investment firm had pressed the utility to conduct a strategic review.

Elliott went public earlier this year with demands that Duke split into three companies focused on the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest. The hedge fund said this plan should create $12 billion to $15 billion of near-term value for shareholders. read more

In response, Duke said there was no strategic logic to breaking the company apart. It argued the move would burden each entity with extra costs that would negatively impact services and threaten Duke's ability to pay its shareholder dividend.

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On Monday, Duke Energy named Idalene Kesner, dean of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, as the new independent director. An additional independent board member, agreeable to both parties, will be appointed no later than March 31, it added.

Elliott's push at Duke follows its campaigns at other companies in the sector including Sempra Energy (SRE.N) and Evergy Inc (EVRG.N).

Reuters had exclusively reported last month that Duke was in advanced settlement talks with Elliott read more

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Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M and Shailesh Kuber

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