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The late 1990s saw the rise of the serial acquiror. In 2003 The Williams Companies, Inc., has become a serial seller. With $14 billion of debt on its books at the end of last year, the Tulsa�based energy trading, gas pipeline, and energy services company has gone on a selling spree in which it has disposed of $3.5 billion worth of assets. On April 21 three private equity shops aided in that process by paying $1.1 billion for Williams’s 54.6 percent interest in Williams Energy Partners LP, a publicly traded partnership also based in Tulsa. This and previous deals have boosted the share price for Williams from $2.74 on January 2 to $7.02 on May 5. Chicago’s Madison Dearborn Partners, Washington, D.C.�based The Carlyle Group, and Riverstone Holdings LLC of New York are joining forces to pay Williams $512 million in cash and assume $570 million in debt of Williams Energy Partners, which owns various energy assets. The deal was expected to close in the second quarter. For buyer Riverstone Holdings LLC (New York) Vinson & Elkins (Houston): Corporate: Charles Carpenter, Mike Rosenwasser, Michael Swidler, and associates Ashley Geller, Eliot “Ramey” Layne, Brenda Lenahan, and Bryan Pechersky. Finance: Steven Abramowitz, Michael McKay, and associate Timothy Dodd. Tax: Barry Miller and associate Charles “Tim” Fenn. Environmental: George “Casey” Hopkins and associate Christopher Carr. Employee benefits: Michael Stuart. Regulatory matters: John Kennedy, Cathy Lewis, and associate Neil Patten. Intellectual property: George Harvey Dunn III. (The corporate and finance lawyers are all in New York; Miller, Fenn, Stuart, Kennedy, and Patten are in Houston; Hopkins, Carr, and Lewis are in Washington, D.C.; and Dunn is in Dallas.) V&E has represented Riverstone since its formation in 2000. For buyer Madison Dearborn Partners (Chicago) Kirkland & Ellis (Chicago): M&A: William Kirsch. Corporate: Jeffrey Seifman and associate Brian Van Klompenberg. Tax: William Welke. Energy: Mitchell Hertz. (Hertz is in Washington, D.C.) Kirsch has represented Madison Dearborn since its 1993 founding. For buyer The Carlyle Group (Washington, D.C.) Latham & Watkins (Los Angeles): M&A: David Dantzic. Tax: Joseph Sullivan and associate Cheryl Coe. Private equity: Scott Bowie and associates Barton Clark, Todd Gordon, and Wesley Holmes. (All are in Washington, D.C., except for Bowie, who is in New York.) Carlyle is a longtime Latham client. Bowie and Clark have represented Carlyle in its joint venture with Riverstone. For seller The Williams Companies, Inc. (Tulsa) In-house: Assistant general counsel Lonny Townsend. Andrews & Kurth (Houston): William Cooper, G. Michael O’Leary, and associate Kimberly Osburn. Andrews & Kurth regularly handles corporate work for Williams. For the independent committee of the general partner of Williams Energy Partners LP (Tulsa) Sullivan & Cromwell (New York): Steve Kotran and associates Andrew Bray and Maya Hajdiyancheva. Richards, Layton & Finger (Wilmington): Jesse Finkelstein and Gregory Ladner.

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