Merger Turns Sour: Williams Sues ETE/CEO Kelcy Warren

It was a long courting period before Energy Transfer Equity finally cajoled, harangued, and eventually forced the board of Williams to agree to a merger/takeover. ETE’s billionaire CEO Kelsy Warren revealed he had been propositioning Williams for over six months–offering Williams $64 per share to buy the company, totaling $48 billion (see Energy Transfer Makes “Indecent Proposal” to Buy Williams for $48B). Williams resisted, but eventually they caved and agreed to the deal–although the deal price went down $10 billion by the time they accepted (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). But things changed. Prices for natural gas (and oil) went into the basement, and ETE/Kelsy Warren had second thoughts (see ETE Wants Out of Williams Merger/Takeover, Offering $2B Breakup Fee). Yesterday Williams sued ETE and Kelsy Warren over ETE’s issuance of private shares to select investors to help finance the deal, and they sued Warren for “interfering” with the merger by issuing said private shares. The upshot seems to be Williams feels as though their shareholders are getting shafted. Williams wants the deal done, and they want to get the agreed-to amount. That’s why they’re suing. ETE disputes Williams’ claims and says they will “vigorously defend” themselves. Looks like this marriage is already turning sour…

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