Williams Cos. Gutted if Energy Transfer Merger is Completed

Energy Transfer Corp. filed an Amended Form S-4 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that reveals Williams Cos. operations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City will be “significantly reduced” if the proposed merger between Williams and Energy Transfer Equity is completed, according to a Wednesday afternoon report in The Tulsa World.

Citing current energy industryconditions, Williams and ETE have examined strategies to decrease administrative expenses. ETE has determined that it will be necessary to consolidate corporate offices and headquarters of ETE and Williams in Dallas “in order to achieve the appropriate overall reduction in general and administrative costs for the combined company and headquarters.”

Williams employs 1,000 people in Tulsa and a few hundred in Oklahoma City. Williams has a total workforce of around 6,700 employees in North America.

The news about the significant reduction in Oklahoma operations differs dramatically from the previous message to keep “a meaningful presence” in Tulsa when the deal between the two energy companies was first announced.

Earlier this month, Williams announced that it would be laying off around 10 percent of staff due to commodity prices. The company said those layoffs had nothing to do with the proposed merger with ETE.

“I am stunned by this news of how ETE intends to effectively decimate the presence of Williams Partners LP in the city and region of Tulsa. The filing today with the SEC was completely contrary to ETE’s original statements that the company, its name, and a meaningful ongoing existence would continue in Tulsa,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “This community will not accept the dismantling of this fine company that has always stood responsibly with its home town.”

“Today’s SEC filing by Energy Transfer Equity will be devastating to the entire state of Oklahoma, including both the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro regions if a substantial presence of jobs are not kept in Oklahoma,” said Tulsa Regional Chamber President Mike Neal.

The merger must be approved by Williams’ shareholders. A date for the vote has not yet been set.

If Williams’ shareholders fail to approve the merger proposal at their upcoming special meeting, Williams may have to reimburse ETE up to $50 million for all out-of-pocket expenses incurred with the deal, according to the original merger agreement.

The agreement also includes a $1.48 billion penalty fee if the merger agreement is terminated under special circumstances.





   


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