Washington, DC - The Federal Trade Commission has withdrawn its acceptance of a proposed consent order that would have required energy company Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., to divest assets in settlement of charges that its proposed acquisition of The Williams Companies would likely harm competition. For reasons unrelated to the Commission’s investigation or the proposed order, ETE terminated its merger agreement with Williams.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the merger – had the parties gone forward with the transaction – would have reduced competition in the market for “firm,” i.e., guaranteed pipeline capacity to deliver natural gas to points within the Florida peninsula.

The Commission vote to close the investigation into the transaction, withdraw acceptance of the consent order, and not issue a final order was 3-0. (FTC File No. 151 0172; the staff contact is Brian J. Telpner, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2782)