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Energy Transfer doubts Williams buyout completion; cites tax issues

HOUSTON, May 5, 2016 (PCW) – Energy Transfer on Thursday said tax issues could prevent its $37.7 billion buyout of Williams from being completed.

During an earnings call with analysts, CEO Kelcy Warren said after filing an amendment to the SEC on Wednesday, its lawyers Latham & Watkins informed Energy Transfer it would be unable to deliver a required opinion if the deal would prove tax-free for investors.

“We believe the inability of Latham to render its opinion as of the date required will result in the existing transaction not being able to close, regardless of whether Williams would be able to get shareholder agreement,” said Warren.

Later on in the call, Warren said, “We can’t close this transaction. We don’t have a deal that’s close-able.”

On Tuesday, Energy Transfer said it had filed counter-claims against the several class action lawsuits for breach of the merger agreement, executives said. The lawsuits by several Williams shareholders contend that some of the synergies and financial benefits from a combined company had been overstated. -- Samantha Hartke

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