Energy Transfer’s ex-CFO reportedly sought to undo Williams Cos. merger deal

In late January, about 40 Wall Street financiers packed into a private dining room at III Forks Steakhouse in Houston for an update on the troubled multibillion-dollar merger of pipeline companies Energy Transfer Equity and the Williams Cos. With shares of Dallas-based Energy Transfer down 50 percent since the transaction was announced in September, the investors interrogated Energy Transfer’s chief financial officer, Jamie Welch. He tried to assuage analysts and investors, assuring them that his company was committed to closing the deal.Less than 10 days later, Energy Transfer fired Welch.Welch’s ouster stunned most investors, causing Energy Transfer’s stock to drop 42 percent in one day, but not everyone was surprised. Since December, Welch, a former investment banker who helped sculpt the $38 billion acquisition, had been actively trying to recut the deal or get out of it entirely.In recent months, Welch has called Williams shareholders, urging them to push the board to reconfigure the deal or vote against it, according to interviews with five shareholders who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private conversations.Welch argued that the deal’s terms, a mix of stock and a sizable $6 billion cash payout to Williams shareholders, would crush the combined new company under a mountain of debt. In one call, a shareholder said, Welch referred to the cash payout as “mutually assured destruction.”

Source: Energy Transfer’s ex-CFO reportedly sought to undo Williams Cos. merger deal | | Dallas Morning News

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