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Williams Companies: We're In For A Battle


Shunned by Energy Transfer Equity.

WMB is entering a new fight for its life.

The activist that stepped down from the board is now back at it.

The Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) story keeps getting better. WMB is now facing a full blown proxy battle from activist investor Corvex Management. As I've said before, the WMB troubles likely doesn't end well. We had nearly half its board directors walk out after failing to oust WMB CEO Alan Armstrong. As part of the board walkout, Corvex's founder Keith Meister stepped down from the board, as did Soroban's Capital Eric Mandelblatt. Now Corvex has taken his stake in WMB to just 4.1%, but the activist fund hasn't given up.

Per Corvex's recent letter they laid out the plans for taking over the WMB board. Corvex is looking to get 10 nominees on the WMB board - a near full board takeover. All part of his initial plan to oust the CEO.

Some might say that WMB deserves this fight, and I'd tend to agree. The past strategy of growth at any cost has been played out, working well during the oil boom times. But now is the time for a prudent and balance sheet focused strategy. However, one move that Corvex might push for is a merger of...