DOJ approves Exelon deal, with conditions

NEW YORK — The Justice Department has cleared the way for Exelon Corp.’s $7.9 billion purchase of Constellation Energy Group, Inc. to go forward, but said the companies must agree to sell three Maryland power plants first.

The Justice Department said Thursday that if the companies kept the plants, they would have too much market power in the mid-Atlantic region, which could raise electricity prices for customers there.

The deal has been approved by shareholders and utility commissions in New York and Texas. The companies are still seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Maryland regulators.

Exelon, based in Chicago, said in a statement that its plan to acquire Baltimore-based Constellation remains on track to be completed in early 2012.