The panel said the bid from the privately held Fort Worth company was not in the public interest.

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PORTLAND — As soon as Oregon regulators rejected the proposed $2.35 billion sale of Enron subsidiary Portland General Electric to a Texas investment firm, the city said it would buy PGE.

Mayor Tom Potter held a news conference yesterday to make the formal offer just hours after the Oregon Public Utility Commission ruled against Texas Pacific Group’s bid to buy PGE from bankrupt Enron.

The panel said the bid from the privately held Fort Worth company was not in the public interest.

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For more than a year, Texas Pacific, whose co-investors included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had been trying to build support for buying Oregon’s oldest and largest utility, despite widespread criticism and resistance.

The firm, known for its profitable takeover of Continental Airlines in 1993, has more than $15 billion in assets, including a stake in Burger King.

Potter said the city would be in touch with Enron, its creditors and interim CEO Stephen Cooper within 24 hours.

A deal could be struck any time, the mayor said, although he suspected it could take a while. No price was disclosed, but officials have said it would approach the Texas Pacific offer.

Oregon Public Utility Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said the Texas Pacific proposal was rejected partly because it had called for a leveraged buyout loaded with debt, and because the firm planned to sell PGE as soon as the investment showed a profit.

“The potential harms or risks to PGE customers from the deal outweigh the potential benefits,” Beyer said.

Commissioners said the high debt could result in a lower credit rating for PGE, which would translate into higher financing costs for the utility and probably higher electric rates for its 755,000 customers.

Erik Sten, the city commissioner Potter named to manage negotiations with Enron, repeated estimates that Portland could save up to $1 billion over the next decade by turning PGE into a municipal utility.

“What we’re interested in is stability. We’re interested in local control,” Sten said, “and we’re interested in lower rates.”

Texas Pacific and Enron officials said yesterday’s ruling would be carefully reviewed. It came six months to the day after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez signed off on Enron’s plan to sell its last major assets.

Gonzalez approved a stock-distribution plan that could be used to pay Enron creditors if Texas Pacific decides not to appeal or asks the Oregon commission to reconsider its offer.

It would be up to creditors — mostly major banks — to decide whether to accept stock in the utility or consider a city bid that would be immediate cash.

Information from Bloomberg News was included in this report.