Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ) said it plans to offer 9 million of its units to help fund its $2.5 billion acquisition of Caiman Eastern Midstream LLC.
Shares dropped 3.5% to $54.33 after hours. As of Tuesday's close, the stock was down 6.2% for 2012. Williams Partners had about 305 million shares outstanding as of Feb. 23.
The offering comes a few days after Williams Cos. (WMB) raised $795 million in a public offering of 26 million shares to raise funds for the purchase. Williams Partners is the midstream and interstate gas pipeline asset-holder of Williams Cos., an energy company.
Last month, Williams Partners unveiled its plans to buy Caiman, which has midstream facilities in the Marcellus Shale, a giant natural-gas field that underlies several northeastern U.S. states. Pipeline companies in the U.S. are undergoing a wave of acquisitions and expansion as they seek to adapt to the new geography of energy production brought about by shale production.
Williams Partners expects significant growth in gathering volumes and natural-gas liquids production from the Caiman assets. There are an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in place within a 35-mile radius of the existing gathering system there, and a significant amount remains undedicated, it has said. Williams had said it planned to make an investment in Williams Partners of approximately $1 billion to facilitate the Caiman deal.
In February, Williams Cos. said it swung to a fourth-quarter loss, mostly on write-downs related to its former exploration and production business, while Williams Partners's fourth-quarter earnings improved on strong margins on natural-gas liquids.
-By Ben Fox Rubin, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3108; firstname.lastname@example.org