Williams says that its Board of Directors has authorized a process to explore a range of strategic alternatives following receipt of an unsolicited proposal to acquire Williams in an all-equity transaction at a stated per share price of $64.00. The unsolicited proposal was contingent on the termination of Williams' pending acquisition of Williams Partners L.P.
With the assistance of its outside financial and legal advisors, the Williams Board carefully considered the unsolicited proposal and determined that it significantly undervalues Williams and would not deliver value commensurate with what Williams expects to achieve on a standalone basis and through other growth initiatives, including the pending acquisition of WPZ.
As previously announced on May 13, 2015, Williams and WPZ have signed a definitive agreement under which Williams will acquire all of the public outstanding common units of WPZ in an all stock-for-unit transaction at a 1.115 ratio of Williams common shares per unit of WPZ. During its strategic review process, Williams will continue to work towards the completion of the WPZ transaction.
Williams has retained Barclays and Lazard to assist in its review of strategic alternatives, which could include, among other things, a merger, a sale of Williams or continuing to pursue the Company's existing operating and growth plan.
'Our Board and management team remain committed to acting in the best interests of shareholders, and in light of the unsolicited proposal, our Board believes it is in the best interest of shareholders to conduct a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives,' said Alan Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer of Williams. 'Williams' premier infrastructure connects the best natural gas supplies to the best markets, and our strategy has provided substantial shareholder value allowing us to deliver a compound annual dividend growth rate of approximately 30% since we embarked on our strategy in 2012. In addition, we expect the growth of our business and the benefits from the WPZ transaction to enable 10-15% dividend growth through 2020. We are confident in our strategic plan and the significant value that will be created through the acquisition of WPZ and our large portfolio of growth projects. At the same time, we are open minded and committed to ensuring that Williams is maximizing value for shareholders.'