Two activist funds raise stake in US Williams to almost 10%

14 February 2014 22:02  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two activists funds working in tandem now have a 9% stake in Williams, a US-based midstream company, according to a regulatory filing made on Friday.

Corvex Management now owns 39.0m Williams shares, according to a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The managing partner of Corvex is Keith Meister.

Soroban Capital Partners now owns 21.0m shares. The managing partner of Soroban is Eric Mandelblatt.

Earlier in December, Mandelblatt and Meister requested seats on Williams's board of directors.

Together, the stake of the two funds has increased to nearly 9%, the filing said. Once cash-settled options are included, that stake increases to nearly 10%.

In addition, Corvex and Soroban have hired Moelis as a financial advisor in regards to their stake in Williams, the filing said.

In December, the two funds agreed to work together in proposing better ways to run Williams, according to an SEC filing made at the time.

In the December filing, the funds said that shares in Williams were undervalued, making them a good investment.

The two funds have had what they described as productive meetings with Williams management and with the board of directors, according to the December filing.

They said in December that Williams "has a strong competitive position in an attractive industry with tremendous growth opportunities".

However, Williams had recently made what the funds called operational and financial missteps, according to the December filing. As a result, the price of the company's shares did not reflect the full value of Williams.

In December, the funds said that they would like to hold more talks with Williams to find ways to improve the structure and value of the company's investments and assets. In addition, they would like to review Williams's capital projects.

Among the other topics, the funds would like to talk about acquisitions, given the rapid consolidation in the midstream industry, according to the December filing.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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