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Yesterday, 10:37 AM
- Energy Transfer Equity (ETE -25.8%) plunges on news that CFO Jamie Welch will be replaced by Thomas Long, CFO of its Energy Transfer Partners (ETP -17.3%) affiliate.
- ETE says the change was not caused on any disagreement over accounting or financial matters, and it says it is in talks with Welch about taking a consulting role on its liquefied natural gas export project.
- Williams Cos. (WMB -24.1%), which is being bought by ETE, also is sharply lower following the CFO news; also, WPZ -18.5%.
- ETE shares also are downgraded to Neutral from Outperform with a $7 price target at Baird.
Mon, Jan. 25, 8:31 AM
- Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) -3% premarket after announcing $2B in 2016 planned capex, down one-third from previous guidance, citing project deferrals, delays and cancellations due to the current commodity price environment as well as sharply higher costs of capital.
- WMB says the $2B growth capital funding needs include $1.3B for Transco expansions and other interstate pipeline growth projects, most of which are fully contracted with investment-grade customers.
- WMB's board says it remains committed to completing its merger with Energy Transfer Equity in "a timely manner."
- Also, Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) approves a distribution of $0.85/unit and says it does not plan to issue public equity or public debt this year; it plans to eliminate 2016 equity needs with $1B-plus in planned asset monetizations during H1 2016.
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.
Mon, Jan. 4, 3:48 PM
- Enterprise Products Partners (EPD +3%) maintains strong early gains after announcing that it raised its quarterly distribution by 1.3% while planning to recommend a 5.2% increase for FY 2016's annual distribution.
- EPD also said affiliates of Enterprise Products Company and its general partner plan to purchase $200M in EPD common units during Q1 through the partnership's distribution reinvestment plan and/or at-the-market equity issuance program.
- The news is providing support across the MLP sector, which is in the green in an otherwise dismal showing for stocks; the ALPS Alerian MLP ETF (AMLP +0.6%) - which includes EPD, Magellan Midstream (MMP +1.3%), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP +3.7%), Plains All American (PAA +4.9%), Williams Partners (WPZ +2.4%), Buckeye Partners (BPL -0.5%), ONEOK Partners (OKS +0.3%), Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP +3.4%), Sunoco Logistics (SXL +0.6%) and Targa Resources Partners (NGLS -3%) - edges higher for its best level since late November.
Dec. 28, 2015, 11:45 AM
- WTI crude is down 3.2% to $36.90/barrel, and Brent crude down 2.5% to $36.95/barrel, leaving prices close to 11-year lows. Energy industry firms are among the biggest decliners on a day the S&P is down 0.6%.
- Fears about excess supply appear to be weighing once more. OPEC figures point to a global oil supply glut of more than 2M barrels (over 2% of global demand); a smaller glut is expected next year. Meanwhile, Japanese government data indicates the country's oil product sales fell to a 46-year low in November, and European data suggests the continent's oil product demand growth turned negative in October.
- The biggest casualties include Whiting Petroleum (WLL -9.9%), Oasis Petroleum (OAS -8.2%), Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR -12.5%), Denbury Resources (DNR -8%), SandRidge Energy (SD -8.1%), SandRidge Permian Trust (PER -10.9%), SandRidge Mississippian Trust (SDT -7.5%), U.S. Silica (SLCA -6.2%), Marathon Oil (MRO -6.7%), C&J Energy Services (CJES -8.1%), MV Oil Trust (MVO -9.2%), Bonanza Creek (BCEI -6.4%), Parker Drilling (PKD -7.9%), and Continental Resources (CLR -5.9%).
- Other notable decliners include Kinder Morgan (KMI -5%), Williams Partners (WPZ -4.4%), EOG Resources (EOG -3.4%), Cheniere Energy (CQP -3.6%), SeaDrill (SDRL -3.5%), Encana (ECA -2.8%), Devon Energy (DVN -2.7%), Ensco (ESV -3.8%), Hercules Offshore (HERO -4.7%), Atwood Oceanics (ATW -4.9%), Helmerich & Payne (HP -3.8%), and Pioneer Natural (PXD -2.6%).
- ETFs: XLE, VDE, ERX, OIH, XOP, ERY, DIG, DUG, BGR, IYE, IEO, FENY, PXE, FIF, PXJ, NDP, RYE, FXN, DDG, DRIP, GUSH
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. 29, 2015, 3:58 PM
- Williams Partners (WPZ +7.8%) enjoys strong gains, as growing volumes of fuel and new pipelines sparked solid Q3 results despite shut-in production and weak fuel prices.
- WPZ says EBITDA grew to $1.1B at the end of Q3, compared to $907M in the same period last year, as several new pipelines and processing facilities began operating, boosting both the amount of fuels Williams handled and the fees it received.
- WPZ reported $754M in Q3 distributable cash flow, vs. $367M at the same time in 2014, which means the company can pay its dividend of $0.85/unit and still have money left over, a positive change for investors from the year-ago quarter when income covered only about two-thirds of the dividend.
- WPZ says it brought online the Virginia Southside lateral, a branch of the Transco line that connects to the Atlantic region, during Q3, and was able to pull early revenues from Lediy Southeast, another Transco expansion, although the full project has not yet come online.
- WMB +0.1%.
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. 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. 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. 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. 29, 2015, 6:47 PM
- Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) +2.6% AH despite reporting Q2 earnings that missed analyst estimates and included reduced full-year guidance, citing a decline in commodity prices.
- But WMB also affirms its 2015 dividend guidance and dividend growth estimate through 2020, forecasting $0.64/share in Q3 2015 ($2.56 annualized) and $2.85 in 2016, with 10%-15% annual dividend growth through 2020.
- WMB lowers its FY 2015 EBITDA guidance by 6% to $4.23B, citing lower commodity prices and the extended ramp-up of its Geismar plant.
- WMB also says it would not hold a shareholder vote on its proposed $13.8B consolidation with Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) until after the company finishes evaluating a potential sale.
- WPZ reports distributable cash flow of $701M compared with $504M in DCF attributable to partnership operations in the year-ago quarter, which leaves WPZ just short of covering the $723M in cash it paid out to investors.
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).
Jun. 22, 2015, 9:18 AM
May 13, 2015, 3:49 PM
- Energy MLPs are trading with mixed results, which is not in line with an analyst's expectation that several names in the space may be outperformers today after Williams Cos. (WMB +6.2%) agreed to buy Williams Partners (WPZ +22.7%).
- In an earlier note to investors, Credit Suisse named Plains GP Holdings (PAGP +1%), Targa Resources (TRGP +1.1%), NuStar GP Holdings (NSH -0.1%) and Western Gas Equity (WGP -0.7%) as MLPs that could climb on the news.
- Meanwhile, Wells Fargo says the deal is positive, since it reduces the WMB's cost of capital, will immediately increase its profits, and enhances its dividend growth outlook.
- Among major energy MLPs: EPD -1.5%, ETP +0.9%, PAA +0.2%, EEP -0.2%, MWE +2.2%, MMP -0.3%.
May 13, 2015, 9:15 AM
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