Williams acquires Access Midstream for $6 billion

Tulsa, Okla.-based midstream company Williams Co. agreed to pay about $6 billion in cash to acquire all of the interests in both Access Midstream Partners and its general partner, Access Midstream Partners GP, currently owned by Global Infrastructure Partners II.

Both companies operate pipelines serving the Marcellus and Utica shales, as well as other unconventional shale plays across the country.

Williams also proposed a merger between Access Midstream Partners and Williams Partners, the company said. "We're announcing a series of steps designed to amplify the benefits of our existing relationship with Access Midstream Partners," said Alan Armstrong, Williams' chief executive officer.

In 2012, Williams bought about 23 percent of Access and about half of its general partner.

In this latest deal, Williams plans to acquire the remaining half of the general partner interest and 55.1 million limited partner units in Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream Partners held by Global Infrastructure Partners II.

At the close of trading on Friday, the 55.1 million LP units had a market value of $3.6 billion.

Upon closing, Williams will own 100 percent of the general partner and 50 percent of the limited partner interests in Access Midstream Partners.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Williams also announced a proposal to merge Williams Partners with Access Midstream.

"The proposed merger of Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners, if consummated, would create an industry-leading, large-scale MLP [master limited partnership] with substantial positions across the midstream business – spanning natural gas gathering and processing, natural gas transmission pipelines, and NGL [natural gas liquids] and petchem services," Mr. Armstrong said.

If completed, the merged companies would be named Williams Partners L.P. and “would become one of the largest and fastest-growing” MLPs, according to Williams.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh: sritenbaugh@post-gazette.com or 412-263-4910

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