NiSource/Columbia Energy Group offer CEG shareholders election of stock

MERRILLVILLE, Ind., and HERNDON, Va., September 12, 2000–NiSource Inc. and Columbia Energy Group has announced that Columbia shareholders are being asked to elect whether they want to receive stock of the New NiSource Inc. in exchange for their Columbia shares under the terms of the merger with NiSource.

In a package mailed to Columbia shareholders, the companies said that Columbia shareholders wishing to receive New NiSource stock in the merger must submit their completed election forms and stock certificates in time to be received by the exchange agent, ChaseMellon Shareholder Services, L.L.C., no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the second business day before the merger becomes effective.

The companies said they currently anticipate that the effective time of the merger will occur in late October 2000, subject to meeting the conditions to closing.

The companies said that when the effective date and the election deadline are known, they will be announced in a press release, on the NiSource and Columbia web sites and in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Columbia shareholders can elect to receive New NiSource stock. Otherwise, they will receive of a combination of cash and New NiSource SAILS (Stock Appreciation Income Linked Securities) units consisting of a zero coupon debt security and a forward equity contract.

Elections are subject to proration, if Columbia shareholders elect stock for more than 30 percent of the total outstanding Columbia common shares. The right to elect stock is conditioned on Columbia shareholders electing stock for at least 10 percent of the outstanding Columbia shares.