Court Says ETE Can Terminate Williams Merger; Williams Votes Today

As the World TurnsBig news happened in the Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) proposed merger/buyout of Williams to report. Last Friday a Delaware court ruled that ETE is contractually entitled to terminate its merger agreement with Williams. However, in a press release, ETE doesn’t say it has officially terminated the agreement. In commenting on the ruling, Williams said they still don’t think ETE has the right to wiggle out of the deal and Williams is pushing forward with holding a vote today by shareholders to approve (or not approve) the merger. As we have maintained now for a month or more, we don’t think the merger will happen–and we think all of the press releases and votes, etc. is posturing in preparation to launch lawsuits. The court’s decision essentially says ETE can terminate the agreement and won’t owe Williams any money for their trouble. ETE wanted this merger in the first place and pursued Williams for nearly a year to get it (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). But Williams is not lily white innocent in this ongoing soap opera. Lurking in the background pulling strings are corporate raiders on Williams’ board–people who want to line their pockets with cash from this deal (see Evil Corporate Raiders Double Investment (& Control) in Williams). Even though ETE wants out of the deal and even though (in our opinion) Williams is better off not merging, Williams will continue to push for a merger/takeover, so the raiders can get buckets of cash. Below we have a copy of the court opinion from Friday, along with a couple of analysts’ thoughts on what happens next…

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