Energy Transfer Equity Bids $8.9 Billion for Rival

Following the acquisition of Southern Union's assets, ETE will be among the largest natural gas players in the United States, with 44,000 miles of pipelines and 30.7 billion cubic feet per day of gas transport capacity.

Natural gas pipeline operator Energy Transfer Equity raised its bid for Southern Union Company to $8.9 billion on July 5, the latest move in a bidding battle for the U.S. gas firm.

Last month, ETE offered to buy Southern Union in a $7.9 billion stock swap, but it was outbid by a rival gas company, Williams, which offered $8.7 billion in cash for Southern Union.

In its new bid, ETE is offering Southern Union shareholders $5.1 billion in cash and ETE common units and will assume $3.8 billion of the company's debt, for a total price tag of $8.9 billion.

"We have listened to (Southern Union Company) shareholders and are providing a superior yet simpler transaction, including a significant cash component," ETE chairman Kelcy Warren said.

The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal.

Following the acquisition of Southern Union's assets, ETE will be among the largest natural gas players in the United States, with 44,000 miles of pipelines and 30.7 billion cubic feet per day of gas transport capacity.

The United States is expected to consume increasing amounts of natural gas in coming years as new drilling techniques open up vast new domestic reserves embedded in shale rock.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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