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Wed, Jan. 27, 3:28 PM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -9.6%) plans to move forward with its $32.9B takeover of Williams Cos. (WMB -5.8%) without altering the terms of the deal, Bloomberg reports, despite speculation that the deal may need to be reworked.
- However, ETE may cover some of the cost of the deal by making lower than expected quarterly distributions to unitholders, according to the report.
- ETE reportedly may release a statement reaffirming its commitment to the deal as soon as this week; WMB said earlier this month that it was committed to the deal.
- The declining value of both ETE and WMB since the deal was announced has fueled speculation about whether the transaction will actually be completed, as WMB shares have fallen 48% while ETE units have declined 55%.
- Also: ETP +0.1%, WPZ -7.4%.
Tue, Jan. 19, 7:45 PM
- Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ETE) today tumbled to its lowest close since June 2010 amid doubts that its deal to buy Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ) will cross the finish line.
- While WMB said last week it is committed to the deal, ETE has yet to explain how it will finance planned pipeline expansions after slumps by both stocks weakened their balance sheets, and some investors question whether ETE might better spend cash reducing debt and funding growth at pipeline partnerships it already controls, Bloomberg analyst Michael Kay says.
- "Might it fall apart, be restructured, or continue as currently contemplated?” asks Tortoise Capital's Brian Kessens. "The current deal spread of 25% indicates the market believes one of the former is more likely.”
- Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) sank another 6% in today's trade, -31% YTD and the lowest close since September 2004.
Fri, Jan. 15, 6:15 PM
- Williams Cos.' (WMB, WPZ) board says it is "unanimously committed" to move forward with the planned $33B acquisition by Energy Transfer Equity ([ETE, ETP), easing concerns that the deal could fall apart due to the plunge in oil prices.
- Analysts have questioned whether the deal would be renegotiated or cancelled following a 60% drop in shares of WMB and ETE since Sept. 28, when the offer to buy WMB for $43.50/share was announced.
Wed, Jan. 13, 2:58 PM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -15.1%), Williams Cos. (WMB -19.6%) and Williams Partners (WPZ -13.8%) all plunge as speculation grows that their merger may be on the verge of falling apart.
- A more than 50% drop in the value of the stocks since ETE's September merger offer has fueled uncertainty over the deal, according to Skip Aylesworth, who owns 3M WMB shares as manager for Hennessy Funds, also citing concerns that ETE may have to cut payouts to fund expansions planned by WMB.
- Fitch, which already downgraded credit ratings for WMB and WPZ, says it is keeping ETE’s rating at BB, below investment grade, even though it had said in the past that it was likely to raise the rating after the merger with Williams; now it says ETE may need to reduce its distributions to shareholders.
Dec. 14, 2015, 2:49 PM
- Williams Cos. (WMB -3.9%) and Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -4.1%) say have entered into a timing agreement with the FTC not to consummate the proposed acquisition before March 18, or prior to 60 days after substantial compliance with the FTC's second request for additional information and documentary material.
- ETE announced in September it had agreed to acquire Williams in a deal valued at ~$37.7B, including the assumption of debt and other liabilities.
- Also: WPZ -0.3%, ETP -4.1%.
Oct. 7, 2015, 8:22 PM
- Energy Transfer (ETE, ETP) and Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ) are planning to sell WMB’s stake in one of Florida’s main interstate pipelines to win regulatory approval for $37B merger, Bloomberg reported earlier.
- The companies anticipate that a sale of WMB’s 50% stake in the Gulfstream Natural Gas System will be required by the FTC, and WMB may explore selling its stake to Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE:SEP), according to the report.
Sep. 28, 2015, 7:45 PM
- "It’s clearly a disappointing deal” for investors, says Jay Hatfield, portfolio manager of the InfraCap MLP exchange-traded fund, of Energy Transfer Equity's (ETE, ETP) takeover of Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ), but bad timing and evidence of panic selling among MLPs exacerbated today's selloff.
- But Hatfield is not against the deal or the MLP space, seeing eventual upside for ETE but perhaps not be until 2016, when deal closes and energy prices have stabilized; "It is a great idea for 2016, but there may be better opportunities before then," Hatfield says.
- One reason for the extreme nature of today's selloff could be that there is little liquidity and few buyers in the energy market right now, and particularly the midstream energy market where ETE and WMB operate, says Tudor Pickering's Brandon Blossman.
- ETE shareholders also may be concerned the company is converting to a corporate structure as part of the deal, which plays into growing talk that the MLP business model may not survive the current difficulties.
- "We now believe the financial operating structure of the MLP may not survive in its current form, even as we say that most businesses using the MLP model are good ones,” writes Brian Nelson, president of Valuentum Securities; he thinks the stock market eventually will demand that MLPs pay their distributions and dividends out of earnings and traditional free cash flow, causing the declines in their unit prices to continue.
- ETFs: AMLP, AMJ, KYN, MLPL, TYG, SRV, KYE, CEM, MLPI, NML, FEN, NTG, MLPA, KMF, EMLP, FMO, MLPN, SRF, FEI, JMF, CBA, MLPX, GMZ, EMO, MLPS, TTP, CTR, AMU, CEN, GER, AMZA, SMM, MIE, DSE, ENFR, FPL, ATMP, JMLP, MLPW
Sep. 28, 2015, 11:39 AM
- Investors are balking at Energy Transfer Equity's (ETE -8.9%) just-announced merger with Williams Cos. (WMB -8.6%), as shares in the two oil and gas pipeline companies sell off sharply.
- WMB appears not to have needed to do much to sweeten its offer: "At first glance, it seems as if the bid matches ETE’s original offer made in June,” Raymond James analysts say - since both companies’ shares have fallen since the potential deal first became public, the headline deal number is now much lower than the $48B value announced in June.
- While plunging oil and natural gas prices have not hit pipeline operators as hard as other energy companies, analysts say the group is facing pressure to merge; prices also have fallen for fuels such as ethane and propane, which has hurt companies like WMB, which processes natural gas.
- Despite the immediate negative reaction, ETE claims the merger will enable it to capture $2.4B or more in commercial and cost-saving synergies over the next few years.
- Kinder Morgan (KMI -3.8%) and Spectra Energy (SE -3.4%) were among the other companies reportedly interested in acquiring WMB.
- Also: WPZ -7.7%, ETP -6.1%.
Sep. 28, 2015, 7:23 AM
- Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ETE) agrees to acquire Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) in a deal valued at $37.7B, implying a price of $43.50/share, to create the third largest energy franchise in North America and one of the five largest global energy companies.
- ETE and WMB say the transaction is immediately accretive to cash flow and distributions for both companies, and anticipate commercial synergies exceeding $2B of incremental EBITDA by 2020, with up to $400M of additional cost savings expected from the implementation of ETE's shared service model.
- WMB is terminating its previous plan to acquire Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ); WMB will pay WPZ a $428M termination fee.
Sep. 23, 2015, 3:15 PM
- Williams Cos. (WMB -3.8%) board is preparing to meet as soon as this week to consider a sale to Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -3.7%) in response to a revised offer, Reuters reports.
- ETE has offered to tweak its all-stock offer for WMB, which is currently worth ~$34B, and pay for ~15% of the deal with cash, according to the report.
- The bid was worth ~$48B in June when WMB rejected an acquisition proposal from ETE, and share prices have since dropped along with oil prices.
- Also: WPZ -4.4%, ETP -2.5%.
Sep. 16, 2015, 4:33 PM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE, ETP) is close to winning its takeover fight for rival pipeline operator Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ), and a deal could be announced in the next week and a half, Bloomberg reports.
- A deal would end a battle that went public in June, when WMB publicly rejected ETE’s unsolicited $53B bid and hired banks to explore a sale; it is not known if ETE has changed the terms of its initial proposal.
Sep. 11, 2015, 6:24 PM
- Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE) has exited the auction process for Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ), increasing the possibility that Energy Transfer Equity (ETE, ETP) could succeed in buying the company, Reuters reports.
- ETE and WMB are said to be negotiating and trying to agree over the share portion of the offer, with ETE offering new shares that have never traded in the public market and WMB viewing the valuation for those shares as untested.
- ETE has hinted that it could launch a hostile takeover if discussions fall through.
Sep. 10, 2015, 12:57 PM
- Williams Cos. (WMB -4.2%) is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo, citing “a less attractive risk-reward balance when considering the potential outcomes” of the review process on which bid to accept among several potential acquirers.
- Wells thinks Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -1.1%) will win out but says the deteriorating macro environment makes analysts less confident; a decision to reject ETE and go solo, folding in its Williams Partners (WPZ -0.2%) MLP, would mean significant downside risk to the share price, the firm says.
- Wells’ best advice for investors who want exposure to Williams is to buy WPZ, which the firm believes has upside either way.
Aug. 17, 2015, 8:11 AM
- Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE) is bidding for the whole of Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB), despite its market cap being about half of the latter, Reuters reports.
- Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) is also interested in the company, but would face potential antitrust issues if it proceeded with a bid.
- Williams put itself up for sale in June after rejecting a $53.1B all-stock takeover bid (including debt) from Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ETE).
- WMB +1.5% premarket
Aug. 5, 2015, 2:45 PM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -2.9%) has progressed to the second round of bidding for Williams Cos. (WMB -1.7%), a key milestone in its efforts to clinch a friendly takeover, Reuters reports.
- WMB decided to put itself on the auction block after it rejected an acquisition proposal from ETE in June worth ~$53B at the time including the assumption of debt, aimed at disrupting WMB's plans to acquire its pipeline subsidiary Williams Partners (WPZ -3.6%).
- WMB reportedly has attracted other bidders, although it is not yet clear which other companies made it through to the second round; Kinder Morgan (KMI -3.5%) and Spectra Energy (SE +0.4%) reportedly have expressed interest in WMB, but KMI could face significant antitrust hurdles because of its size.
Jul. 17, 2015, 8:51 AM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE, ETP) discloses it has signed a confidentiality agreement to participate in an auction for Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ), which turned down ETE's $48B takeover offer last month.
- ETE had been pushing back against a requirement that it promise not to go hostile as a condition for getting access to WMB's books, and the confidentiality agreement has no such “standstill” clause preventing it from pursuing a deal outside the auction.
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