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Tulsa-based energy company Williams' stock soars on Access deal

The Williams Cos. Inc. saw its stock price rise nearly 19 percent Monday, a day after it announced a nearly $6 billion deal to take control of Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream Partners LP.
By Jay F. Marks, Business Writer Published: June 16, 2014

Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. is making quite an impression with its bid to create the nation’s largest midstream master limited partnership.

Williams is poised to take control of Access Midstream Partners LP in a deal worth nearly $6 billion.

Williams’ stock reached $59.68 on Monday before settling at $56.02 a share. That is up $8.84, or nearly 19 percent, since Friday’s closing.

Williams worked behind the scenes for more than two years before capturing its prize, executives said Monday. “This is exactly where we positioned ourselves to be when we made the initial investment back in 2012,” Chief Financial Officer Don Chappel said.

Williams secured a stake in Access Midstream when it helped fund the partnership’s $2.16 billion purchase of former parent company Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s remaining midstream assets in late 2012.

Adding miles of lines

Williams announced Sunday it had struck a deal to take control of Access Midstream, which has more than 6,300 miles of active natural gas gathering and transmission lines. The move is expected to boost Williams’ dividend by 32 percent in the fourth quarter.

CEO Alan Armstrong said the deal, which will add to Williams’ existing 50 percent general partner stake in Access Midstream, fits with the company’s strategy of building assets for exposure to low-cost resources, like the natural gas-rich Marcellus and Utica shales.

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