Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (NYSE:SXL) and Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE:ETP) have entered into a merger agreement providing for the acquisition of ETP by SXL in a unit-for-unit transaction. The transaction was approved by the boards of directors and conflicts committees of both partnerships and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to receipt of ETP unitholder approval and other customary closing conditions.
Under the terms of the transaction, ETP unitholders will receive 1.5 common units of SXL for each common unit of ETP they own. This equates to a 10% premium to the volume weighted average pricing of ETP’s common units for the last 30 trading days immediately prior to the announcement of the transaction.
As SXL will be the acquiring entity, the existing incentive distribution rights provisions in the SXL partnership agreement will continue to be in effect, and Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE:ETE) will own the incentive distribution rights of SXL following the closing of the transaction.
As part of this transaction, ETE has agreed to continue to provide all the incentive distribution right subsidies that are currently in effect with respect to both partnerships.
The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to SXL’s distributable cash flow per common unit and is also expected to allow the combined partnership to be in position to achieve near-term distribution increases in the low double digits and a more than 1.0x distribution coverage ratio.
The transaction is expected to provide significant benefits for SXL and ETP unitholders as the combined partnership will have increased scale and diversification across multiple producing basins and will have greater opportunities to more closely integrate SXL’s natural gas liquids business with ETP’s natural gas gathering, processing and transportation business. With this transaction, SXL and ETP expect to build upon their experience working together as partners in several joint ventures to pursue commercial opportunities and to achieve cost savings while enhancing the service capabilities for their customers. SXL and ETP expect that the transaction will allow for commercial synergies and costs savings in excess of $200 million annually by 2019.
The transaction is also expected to strengthen the balance sheet of the combined organization by utilizing cash distribution savings to reduce debt and to fund a portion of the growth capital expenditure programs of the two partnerships.
ETP and SXL have spent approximately $15 billion in organic growth capital over the past several years, and these expenditures, combined with the completion of other major capital projects currently in progress, are expected to continue to generate strong distributable cash flow growth.
The combined partnership is expected to be the second largest MLP as measured by enterprise value.
At the closing of the transaction, the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, President and Chief Financial Officer of the combined partnership will be Kelcy Warren, Mackie McCrea, Matt Ramsey and Tom Long, respectively, and it is expected that Mike Hennigan and other members of the SXL management team will continue in leading management roles of the combined company with the SXL business headquartered in Philadelphia.