Williams raises Southern Union bid to $44 a share

And there it is: Williams Cos. this morning said it has raised its bid for Houston-based Southern Union to $44 a share, That price falls right in the middle of the range deal watchers were saying Williams needed to hit to make an offer capable of trumping the one from Energy Transfer Equity.

Southern Union’s board already accepted Energy Transfer’s offer, but at $44 a share, Williams bid might be considered superior, despite the hefty termination fees that are built into Energy Transfer’s deal.

Like its previous offers, Williams’ latest is all cash. Energy Transfer is offering Southern Union investors a chance to take either cash or Energy Transfer partnership interests.

As I wrote last week, this deal was already getting expensive at $40 a share, but the value of Southern Union’s assets to both bidders is so great that it’s likely we’ll see a response from Energy Transfer before this is over.