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Actionable news in WMB: WILLIAMS COMPANIES Inc,

Williams Companies: This Doesn't End Well

Activist investors are jumping ship.

The board has been left in shambles.

The company could face a proxy battle to overthrow the CEO.

Things are certainly getting more interesting at Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) since Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ETE) managed to wiggle its way out of the merger. Without a merger, the future for WMB is much less certain. Almost half of WMB's board of directors walked out last week after a disagreement over the future for WMB.

The biggest issue: CEO Alan Armstrong

Six of its 13 board directors walked out because they failed to oust Armstrong as the CEO of the pipeline company. The board meeting lasted six hours. Included among the board resignations were Board Chairman Frank MacInnis and two prominent activist investors, Keith Meister of Corvex Management and Eric Mandelblatt of Soroban Capital.

But it's worth noting that it has been tense in the boardroom for a while, with two activists pushing for a CEO change for over three years, suggesting that the problems at WMB run deeper than the fall in oil prices. The ETE merger was, in a way, activist investors outing Armstrong.

The other interesting angle is that the entire board wasn't behind the ETE merger, with only of the 13 members voting yes for the merger.

Both the activist investors penned letters to the board announcing their respective resignations.

Per Meister's letter, "It is far better in my view to make it clear that...