Jun. 22, 2015, 3:30 PM
- Williams Cos. (WMB +23.8%) must either show its ability to stand on its own merit or accept a better takeout offer, analysts say after the company rejected a $48B buyout bid from Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -3.8%).
- Analysts suggest that given the limited number of potential buyers, ETE stands a good chance of eventual success, perhaps after raising its offer; Raymond James analyst Darren Horowitz, for one, expects a higher offer to come in, since pipelines remain a coveted, high-value infrastructure that is attractive to own even though oil and gas prices have plunged.
- Jefferies' Christopher Sighinolfi says disclosing the bid was a "defensive move" by WMB, and says he is waiting to learn of WMB's timetable for completing its strategic review.
- Argus says WMB management has demonstrated its ability to create shareholder value through both acquisitions and divestitures; the firm believes that the rejection of ETE's all-stock offer is prudent, and that ETE will need to raise its offer if it wishes to pursue the deal (Briefing.com).
- While WMB surges, Williams Partners (WPZ -6.9%) is sharply lower, since ETE's offer was contingent on the termination of WMB's pending absorption of WPZ.
- Analysts say other companies that run big pipelines may be merger candidates, including Oneok (OKE, OKS) and regional specialists such as Targa Resources (TRGP, NGLS).