Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE) agreed to takeover Southern Union Co. (SUG) in a $8.9 billion deal, topping an offer from rival suitor Williams Cos. (WMB), and substantially higher than Energy Transfer's initial offer.
Under the revised terms of the deal, Southern Union shareholders will receive $40 in cash or 0.903 Energy Transfer common units for each share. A maximum of 60% can be taken in cash, while the common unit component can fluctuate between 40% and 50%.
"We are pleased to be able to deliver superior value to our shareholders, with greater certainty to close, through this transaction with ETE," said Southern Union Chairman and Chief Executive George L. Lindemann. "This deal creates strategic benefits that could not be achieved through any other industry combination. Our businesses are highly complementary and the combination will provide a broader range of services and market access that our existing and future customers demand."
The revised deal, which will create the largest natural gas pipeline operator in the U.S., comes after Energy Transfer Partners last week had admonished Southern for its decision to negotiate with rival suitor Williams Cos., which made a $5 billion cash, or $39 a share, counterbid for Southern Union on June 23.
Energy Transfer last month had announced a deal to purchase Southern for about $4.2 billion. Under the terms of that bid, Southern Union shareholders would receive Energy Transfer units valued at $33 per share, which, under certain circumstances, could be converted into cash.
The two companies hope that combining Energy Transfer's position in prolific natural-gas production areas with Southern's access to markets will make them better able to transport natural gas through what is becoming an increasingly congested system.
Energy Transfer common units, Southern Union shares and Williams shares closed Friday at $44.68, $40.37, and 30.77, respectively. None were active premarket.
-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com