UPDATE 1-Energy Transfer warns Southern against Williams talks

Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:06am BST

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By Krishna N Das

BANGALORE, June 29 (Reuters) - Pipeline operator Energy Transfer Equity LP , bidding for Southern Union Co for about $4.1 billion, said any attempt by Southern to talk with rival bidder Williams Companies will be a "willful and intentional" breach of their merger agreement.

Southern Union said on Tuesday it planned to discuss the $4.9 billion takeover proposal from Williams, despite stiff opposition from Energy Transfer.

"The sharing of Southern Union's confidential information with Williams, a competitor in significant markets, could materially damage the business that Energy Transfer will acquire," a June 27 letter from Energy Transfer's counsel to Southern Union, seen by Reuters, stated.

Vicki Anderson Granado, a spokesperson for Energy Transfer, declined to give any further details.

The letter also said in the event of a breach, Southern Union will not be allowed to end its deal with Energy Transfer in favor of the Williams bid.

Southern Union owns and operates more than 20,000 miles of U.S. gas pipelines in the Southeast, Midwest and Great Lakes regions, as well as in Texas and New Mexico (Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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