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The Morning Brief: Williams Says Shareholders Approve Energy Transfer Deal

Hedge fund favorite Williams Companies announced that shareholders approved its previously announced acquisition by Energy Transfer Equity. More than 80 percent of votes cast at a special meeting representing more than 63 percent of all outstanding shares voted in favor of the controversial deal with the pipeline rivals.

The $38 billion merger was announced in September 2015. However, ETE has been trying to back out of the deal. On Friday a Delaware judge ruled that ETE can terminate the deal, agreeing that the energy company was unable to get a determination from its law firm, Latham & Watkins, that the transaction would be tax free, a critical provision of the original deal. The merger period officially ends on Tuesday, June 28.

Shares of Williams fell more than 6 percent on Monday after dropping more than 2 percent on Friday. Also on Monday, Williams said it is appealing the Delaware Supreme Court of the Delaware Court of Chancery’s ruling, asserting it “does not believe ETE has a right to terminate” the merger agreement because ETE has breached the agreement “by failing to cooperate and use necessary efforts to satisfy the conditions to closing,” including delivery of the Latham & Watkins tax opinion. “Williams remains ready, willing and able to close the merger,” Williams added in its press release.

Citadel has hired Steven Lieblich to be the chief technology officer of the Chicago firm’s hedge fund business. He previously spent 30 years at Morgan Stanley, most recently as chief information officer. Lieblich, who will join the firm in the fall, will report to Citadel founder and chief executive Kenneth Griffin.

Richard (Mick) McGuire III’s Marcato Capital Management sold more than 193,000 shares of Trinity Place Holdings, reducing its stake to 13.5 percent. At the end of the first quarter, the stock was the San Francisco activist firm’s ninth-largest holding in a portfolio of 16 U.S. stocks. The real estate company has a $172 million market capitalization.


Health care specialist North Tide Capital disclosed it established an 8.5 million-share position in BioScrip. As a result, the Boston-based firm owns 7.5 percent of the provider of home infusion services.

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