DALLAS (AP) -- Energy Transfer Equity is buying pipeline operator The Williams Cos. for approximately $32.61 billion.
The companies said Monday that the combination creates one of the five biggest energy companies in the world.
"In today’s globally competitive market, it is no surprise Williams attracted a number of interested buyers," said Mike Neal, Tulsa Regional Chamber president and CEO. "The size and scope of the merger reportedly makes the companies the third largest energy franchise in North America. It is in the best interest of the greater Tulsa region to support Williams Cos. leadership and its employees as details continue to emerge in the coming weeks."
"The company’s commitment to retain Williams Partners as a separate entity and remain headquartered in Tulsa provides an opportunity to conserve our long, storied history together."
Alan Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Williams said, “Williams’ intense focus on connecting the best natural gas supplies to the best natural gas markets will be a significant complement to the ETE family of diverse energy infrastructure. As a combined company, we will have enhanced prospects for growth, be better able to connect our customers to more diverse markets, and have more stability in an environment of low commodity prices. Importantly, Williams Partners will retain its current name and remain a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
A spokesperson for the company also gave a statement regarding Williams’ operations in Tulsa, saying “Today’s announcement has no immediate impact on employees and it remains business as usual at Williams. ETE recognizes Williams’ historical presence in and dedication to the Tulsa community and will maintain a meaningful presence here.”
Energy Transfer Equity LP will pay $43.50 per share, a 4.6 percent premium to Williams' Friday closing price of $41.60.
Williams' shareholders can choose either shares of Energy Transfer Equity affiliate Energy Transfer Corp., cash or a combination of both.
The companies put the deal's value at about $37.7 billion, including debt and other liabilities.
Williams' stockholders will also receive a one-time special dividend of 10 cents per share that will be paid immediately before the acquisition closes.
Both companies' boards approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2016.