Court Says was OK for ETE to Scuttle $33B Williams Takeover Deal

Last year an elaborate midstream drama unfolded before our very eyes. Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) pushed and prodded and poked and cajoled and insisted, and finally with the help of an inside corporate raider, forced Williams to agree to a buyout/merger (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). Then the bottom dropped out of the price of natural gas and drillers scaled back drilling and consequently midstream (i.e. pipeline) companies like ETE and Williams got pinched. And ETE got cold feet (see ETE Wants Out of Williams Merger/Takeover, Offering $2B Breakup Fee). Williams said “not so fast, you wanted us, you’ll be taking us” and consequently sued ETE to force the merger to happen (see Merger Turns Sour: Williams Sues ETE/CEO Kelcy Warren). However, in the end, the merger never happened (see Dead as a Doornail: ETE Terminates Merger with Williams). Since breaking the agreement, Williams and ETE have been in court battling over lots of things, including a $1.5 billion breakup fee. Earlier this week an appeals court ruled ETE was within its rights to break the deal. What does that mean about paying Williams a breakup fee?…

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