Southern Union Increases Its Southwest Gas Offer
Disappointed by Southwest Gas' board of directors' decision to
accept Oneok's $30/share merger offer over its own $32/share offer,
Southern Union decided to up the ante late Tuesday by increasing
its bid to $33.50/share. With the increase, Southern Union's offer
now exceeds Oneok's by $108 million, Southern Union said.
"We were so disappointed that the board chose Oneok over us,
even though our $32/share offer was $60 million more. We value
Southwest. We think it is a good fit with us and we won't let it go
without trying everything possible," said George Yankowski, a
Southern Union spokesman.
Along with the added dollar amount, Southern Union said it
answered the regulatory issues that caused Southwest to chose
Oneok. "Basically, we will pay Southwest shareholders from the
middle of February 2000 until closing, if the deal has not been
closed by that point," Yankowski said. "All we want is an immediate
Southern Union said it will pay interest which, together with
dividends, will provide Southwest shareholders with a 6% annual
rate of return, based on Southern Union's $33.50/share offer,
commencing February 15, 2000 until the close of the merger.
"There's no question Southern Union has the financial resources
and the commitment to see this transaction through expeditiously.
Over a period of months, we have provided appropriate responses to
every reasonable issue raised by Southwest's management related to
this transaction.Based on advice from regulatory counsel, Southern
Union believes we will be able to receive regulatory approvals in
the same timeframe as Oneok," said George Lindemann, CEO of
Neither Oneok nor Southwest could be reached for comment before
press time. Southwest's board announced its decision to accept Oneok's
offer earlier this week (See Daily GPI,
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