Williams shareholders vote on Energy Transfer Equity merger during meeting Monday

Posted at 10:36 AM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 19:28:58-04

TULSA -- Monday, Williams Companies shareholders voted overwhelmingly to continue with the merger between the Tulsa-based company and Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity.

Friday, a judge ruled Dallas-Based ETE does have the right to terminate its proposed merger with Tulsa-based Williams Companies.

RELATED: Group of Williams shareholders file motion to stall proposed merger | Judge rules in favor of ETE over merger with Williams

Experts say Monday's vote won't be enough to keep the merger intact, leaving Tulsa leaders to to breathe a sigh of relief. 

"This has been the scariest scenario you can imagine," said Tulsa Metro Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal. "The concept of losing your largest corporate headquarters."

It's been a long 13 months for the city of Tulsa., but now city leaders have renewed confidence, even after 80 percent of shareholders who voted Monday said they still support the ETE merger.

"It would be our expectation that today's vote didn't really mean much," said Neal.

Experts say the vote was a formality after a Delaware Judge already allowed ETE to walk away from the merger due to tax issues.

"When oil prices fell out of the sky and dropped seventy percent, it didn't make sense anymore," said financial advisor Jake Dollarhide.

Dollarhide says the deal was to be paid for through ETE stock. When the oil industry tanked, both companies' prices followed. That's when ETE decided to back out.

Now, Williams will appeal the Judge's decision to let ETE go. In the meantime, the thousand Tulsa jobs will stay put, leaving Tulsa's economy intact for now. 

"Now, hopefully it's over with, we can go back to invigorating our relationship with Williams Company," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

Experts say Williams moves on as an independent company who's stock is expected to make a full recovery.

ETE has until Wednesday to formally cancel the merger agreement. If Williams wins their appeal, ETE could pay the company millions of dollars in penalties for backing out.

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