US Co. Exploring Options After Rejecting $48b Offer

US Co. Exploring Options After Rejecting $48b Offer
US Co. Exploring Options After Rejecting $48b Offer

Pipeline giant Williams Co. has turned down a $48 billion buyout offer but is still open to a sale, the company said Sunday night.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams said it was offered an unsolicited, all-equity deal worth $64 per share, but didn’t identify the suitor.

Late Sunday night, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity said in a statement that it made the offer. It said it initially did so on May 19 with follow-up efforts this month.

“ETE has made multiple attempts over an almost 6-month period to engage in meaningful, friendly dialogue with the senior management of Williams regarding a proposed merger,” the company said, Fuel Fix reported.

Williams said it had retained banking firms Barclays and Lazard to help evaluate whether the company should seek a sale, a merger or continue along its current path.

“Our board and management team remain committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders, and in light of the unsolicited proposal, our board believes it is in the best interest of shareholders to conduct a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,” Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams, said in a statement.

Williams, which has operations in Houston, said the offer it received was contingent on the company not completing its pending corporate consolidation.

The consolidation, announced in May, would have parent company Williams acquire its asset-holding subsidiary Williams Partners LP in an all-equity deal worth $13.8 billion. William said Sunday that deal was moving forward.

The offer it turned down “significantly undervalues Williams, and would not deliver value commensurate with what Williams expects to achieve on a standalone basis,” the company said.

The oil and gas transportation industry has seen a flurry of deals in the past months, as the largest energy infrastructure companies seek to maintain high growth amid the oil price-induced drilling slowdown.

Williams operates a network of natural gas gathering and processing pipes in the US and Canada.

Shares of Williams Cos. closed at $48.34 on Friday.

“ETE is disappointed that, despite the best of intentions and its efforts to reach a friendly, negotiated combination, it is forced into a position to publicly confirm its offer for Williams,” Energy Transfer said.