Williams Settles

Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB), a Tulsa-based provider of natural gas, has announced the preliminary settlement of the securities class action pending against the company in the N.D. of Oklahoma. The case was originally filed in 2002 and alleges that Williams engaged in financial fraud related to its energy trading operation and a former telecommunications subsidiary.

The settlement is for $290 million. The company expects to pay between $145 million and $220 million, with the rest of the funds coming from its insurers. According to a press release from the lead plaintiff, the settlement comes on the eve of trial and after a discovery effort that included “more than 180 depositions and reviews of more than 18 million pages of documents.”

Lies, Damn Lies, & Forward-Looking Statements has a number of posts sorting out all of the details on the settlement, including noting that Williams’ outside auditors, Ernst & Young, have apparently also settled for $21 million.

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