Williams Cheap Target for Pipeline After El Paso
Kinder Morgan Inc.’s takeover of El Paso Corp. (EP) at the highest premium for a U.S. pipeline operator in 15 years is turning Williams Cos. into the industry’s cheapest takeover target.
Williams, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based pipeline owner pursuing a separation of its oil and natural-gas exploration unit, is valued at 7.5 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the lowest multiple of any U.S. pipeline company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s almost half the 14 times Ebitda Kinder Morgan said this week it’s paying for El Paso in a $38 billion purchase that will create the biggest U.S. pipeline operator. The 47 percent premium is the industry’s richest since 1996, the data show.
With 15,000 miles of pipelines delivering about 14 percent of natural gas consumed in the U.S., Williams may lure buyers after American factories, power plants and homeowners burned a record amount of gas last year and the company lost out on a bid for Southern Union Co. (SUG) Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD), with a market value of $36 billion, may be big enough to take on $16 billion Williams, said T. Rowe Price Group Inc. TransCanada Corp. (TRP) or Enbridge Inc. (ENB) may also feel pressure to add scale after the takeover of El Paso, said Frost Investment Advisors LLC....MORE