Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ETE outbids Williams for Southern Union Group

HOUSTON, Texas - Williams Cos. Inc. has been trumped, at least temporarily, by its rival in the bidding war for pipeline firm Southern Union Co.

Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE: ETE) has dramatically upped its offer to $8.9 billion in cash and stock, companies announced on July 5.

Houston-based Southern Union and Energy Transfer Equity completed a new merger deal that includes $5.1 billion in cash and ETE common units. The latest deal, worked out through the holiday weekend, bests Tulsa-based Williams' own offer by about $200 million in cash.

"We're aware of the new Energy Transfer offer and we're evaluating our options," Williams spokesman Jeff Pounds said in an emailed response on July 5.

Williams previously offered nearly $4.9 billion in cash to buy Southern Union and entered into a confidentiality and negotiation pact only last week. The Tulsa natural gas firm's unsolicited offer came one week after Energy Transfer Equity made its initial $4.2 billion stock-only bid.

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