PG&E in talks with BlueMountain to possibly expand board: sources

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FILE PHOTO: PG&E works on power lines to repair damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

NEW YORK (Reuters) – California utility owner PG&E Corp is exploring expanding its board as it navigates bankruptcy proceedings in an effort to potentially settle an ongoing battle with shareholder BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The discussions between PG&E and BlueMountain representatives underscore the restructuring challenges the company faces since filing for bankruptcy in January to address potentially crushing liabilities from catastrophic wildfires.

The talks come days after PG&E named a new chief executive and unveiled plans to appoint 10 directors to a newly formed board in response to pressure from other shareholders. California Governor Gavin Newsom criticized the slate as dominated by hedge-fund financiers, out-of-state executives and others lacking experience operating utilities.

The discussions are in early stages and will not necessarily lead to a deal that would again revamp PG&E’s board, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. A PG&E representative declined to comment.

BlueMountain, a New York-based hedge fund, in March selected 13 candidates for PG&E’s board after slamming