U.S. Gas Firms in $7.9 Billion Buyout Deal

Energy Transfer Equity will be among the largest natural gas infrastructure players in the U.S.

Natural gas pipeline operator Energy Transfer Equity said on May 16 that it was acquiring another major gas firm, Southern Union Company, in a deal valued at $7.9 billion.

The deal will make Energy Transfer Equity "among the largest natural gas infrastructure players in the US," the firm said.

Following the acquisition of Southern Union's assets, Energy Transfer Equity will have 44,000 miles of pipelines and 30.7 billion cubic feet per day of gas transport capacity.

Energy Transfer Equity said the $7.9 billion price tag for the acquisition included assuming $3.7 billion worth of Southern Union's debt. The deal was structured as a stock swap, with Energy Transfer Equity valuing Southern Union stock at $33.00 per share, a 17% premium over the closing price of Southern Union shares on June 15.

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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