More than 6 months after Tulsa-based Williams Cos. and Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity LP called off their $38 billion pipeline merger, the Williams lawsuit is still in the courts. Williams is still arguing it was wronged by ETE.
This week, Williams attorneys were before the Delaware Supreme Court arguing that ETE breached its duty to take reasonable actions to see the merger through to the end.
Attorney Sandra Goldstein of Cravath Swaine and Moore LLP told the high court that a lower court, the chancery court made a mistake in allowing Energy Transfer Equity LP to back out of the deal and that it applied the wrong standard.
It was back in June when the two companies broke off the controversial deal, a deal in which ETE initially said it would move hundreds of Tulsa employees to Dallas. Eventually, Williams Companies went to Delaware court appealing the termination of the deal.
At the heart of the scuttling of the merger was an opinion by ETE’ lawyers that the deal was not tax-free for Williams’ shareholders who were to receive stock payments. The opinion came months after the initial announcement of the merger and prompted Williams to head to court. And the trial court upheld the opinion and cause for the merger to be broken off by ETE. The judge ruled that once the opinion was given, Energy Transfer could do as it wanted….and it did.