|Traded as||NYSE: WMB
S&P 500 Component
|Industry||Oil and Gas|
|Headquarters||Tulsa, Oklahoma, US|
|Area served||North America|
|Key people||Alan S. Armstrong
(President) & (CEO)
|Products||Oil & Natural gas|
|Revenue||US$ 12.352 billion (2008)|
|Operating income||$ 2.624 billion (2008)|
|Net income||$ 1.418 billion (2008)|
|Total assets||$ 26.006 billion (2008)|
|Total equity||$ 8.440 billion (2008)|
The Williams Companies, Inc. is an energy company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Its core business is natural gas processing and transportation, with additional petroleum and electricity generation assets. A Fortune 200 company, its common stock is a component of the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Utility Average.
It was founded as Williams Brothers in 1908 by Miller and David Williams in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and soon expanded to building nationwide pipelines for natural gas and petroleum. The company relocated to Tulsa in 1919. In 1949, John H. Williams, a nephew of the founders, together with his brother Charles Williams and David's son David Williams Jr., bought the business from the founders; John H. Williams remained as president of the company until 1971 and CEO until 1979.
The company went public in 1957 under the Williams Brothers name. As it diversified in the 1970s, it was renamed The Williams Companies, Inc. Since 1997, their brand identity has been simplified to "Williams".
In 1966, Williams bought the then-largest petroleum products pipeline in America, known as the Great Lakes Pipe Line Company, for about $287 million. In 1982, it expanded into natural gas transportation with the purchase of Northwest Energy Company, and extended their reach to the East Coast with the 1995 purchase of Transco Energy Company.
In 2001, Williams acquired Barrett Resources, which provided them with additional national gas reserves.
In 2002, the company found itself in financial distress due to changed market conditions and the large debt of its subsidiary Williams Communications Group. The company obtained and paid off an emergency high interest loan from Warren Buffett to stay out of bankruptcy, and redirected its focus toward natural gas production, processing, and transportation as well as increasing its resource holdings. One of the moves it made around that time (2004) was the sale of 3 of Canada's largest natural gas treatment plants (extracts natural gas liquids from it) to Inter Pipeline Fund for US$540 million.
In 2010, the company underwent a major restructuring that included a reorganization of its extensive pipeline holdings in Williams Partners LP. On October 2010, Williams and Williams Partners L.P. announced that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Malcolm would retire at the end of the year. The Board of Directors at Williams said it had elected Alan Armstrong to succeed Malcolm as CEO effective January 3, 2011. Armstrong had served as senior vice president of Williams since 2002.
On Feb. 16, 2011 Williams' board of directors had approved pursuing a plan to separate the company's businesses into two stand-alone, publicly traded corporations. The plan calls for Williams to separate its exploration and production business via an initial public offering (IPO) in third-quarter 2011 of up to 20 percent of its interest and, in 2012, a tax-free spinoff to Williams shareholders of its remaining interest.
The company helped to get the modern telecommunications industry off the ground by running fiber optic cable through its decommissioned pipelines. It built two nationwide networks, which have since become their own companies; the first was sold in 1995 to LDDS (which would become WorldCom & then MCI) and the second was spun off in 2001 as Williams Communications (which would become WilTel Communications and later consolidate into Level 3 Communications).
In 2002, Williams Communications Group was sued for that company officials did not properly disclose the failing company's true financial condition, and that officials' public statements belied the firm's plummeting fiscal picture. In 2007, the Williams Companies agreed to pay $290 million.
On March 1, 1999, Jack D. McCarthy, chief financial officer, said the company's additional review and its annual audit process resulted in the previously announced 1998 pre-tax income being adjusted downward by $21.2 million.
On September 16, 2004, Williams Cos. said it amended its fiscal 2003 and first-quarter 2004 filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to show a reclassification to its discontinued operations and a segment reporting change.
- "Former Williams executive dies at 94", The Oklahoman, May 2, 2013.
- "Alaska gas liquids at forefront of Alberta straddle-plant deal". 2004-07-08.
- Rod Walton, "CEO of Williams Cos. to retire: Malcolm gets praise for company turnaround", Tulsa World, October 13, 2010.
- Williams (WMB) CEO Malcolm to Retire; Armstrong Named Successor,, October 12, 2010
- Williams to Pursue Separating Into Two Stand-Alone, Publicly Traded Companies; Boosts Dividend 60%, , Feb. 16, 2011
- "Class Action Lawsuit Against Williams Communications Group".
- "Williams Announces Audited 1998 Income Adjusted From January's Unaudited Report".
- "Williams to amend financial statements".
- Official site
- Hoovers summary
- Voices of Oklahoma interview with John Williams. First person interview conducted with John Williams on December 15, 2009. Original audio and transcript archived with Voices of Oklahoma oral history project.
- "Williams Companies" at Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture