Williams Cos. Sells Canadian Assets for $1.2B

Oil and gas transportation company Williams Partners (WPZ) announced late Wednesday that it agreed to acquire the Canadian assets from its controlling shareholder Williams Cos. (WMB) for about $1.2 billion.

The assets exchanging hands include 260 miles of pipeline, a processing plant and a splitter facility in Alberta, Canada.

The announcement comes after Williams Cos. came under shareholder pressure last year to improve its balance sheets including considering selling assets.

Corvex Management LP and Soroban Capital Partners LLC ramped up pressure on Williams Cos. in an attempt to gain seats on the company's board.

On Tuesday, Williams Cos. gave in to the pressure by agreeing to give one board seat to each respective firm in exchange for dropping their proxy fight and not increasing their shares above 15%.

As of the end of 2013, the two hedge funds have collectively invested about $2.5 billion in Williams Cos., jointly accumulating a nearly 10% stake.

Williams Partners said it expects the assets to contribute up to $160 million in cash flow for the remainder of 2014 and up to $240 million in 2015.

In addition, Williams Partners may distribute up to another $200 million in pay-in-kind notes to Williams Cos. to help fund future expansion at the Alberta facility.

Williams Partners will fund the acquisition with $25 million in cash and will issue about 25.6 million in PIK limited partner units that can be converted into equity beginning no earlier than February 2016.

The two sides said they expect to complete the deal by Feb. 28.

Williams Cos. owns 64% of Williams Partners. The two companies were formed in 2005. Both companies are based in Tulsa, Okla.

Robert W. Baird & Co. advised Williams Partners while Barclays plc advised Williams Cos.

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