Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. ( NYSE:ETE ) ("ETE" or the “Partnership”) today announced that the board of directors of its general partner has approved a series of measures to continue ETE’s growth into 2014, including a two-for-one split of the Partnership’s outstanding common units (“Unit Split”) and a $1 billion buyback program for its common units.
The Unit Split will be effected by a distribution of one common unit for each common unit outstanding and held by unitholders of record at the close of business on January 13, 2014. The Unit Split is expected to be completed on January 24, 2014. The buyback program will be put into place immediately and will be available to be accessed by the Partnership. The program is intended to be used opportunistically and will be utilized and sequenced from time to time depending on the trading price activity and performance for ETE's common units. The common units will be repurchased in the open market at the Partnership’s discretion. The Partnership may commence, suspend or discontinue purchases of common units under this authorization at any time without prior notice and any common units repurchased will be canceled.
Assuming approximately 280 million ETE common units outstanding as of December 31, 2013, ETE expects to have approximately 560 million ETE common units outstanding following completion of the Unit Split. The Partnership’s quarterly distribution amount going forward will reflect this Unit Split.
In addition, the Partnership will continue to support the continued growth of the Energy Transfer family of partnerships and has committed to purchase, at approximately today’s market price, $400 million of Regency Energy Partners LP ( NYSE: RGP ) common units as part of the consideration for RGP's approximately $1.3 billion acquisition of the midstream business of Eagle Rock Energy Partners. ETE will acquire approximately 16.5 million RGP units effective as of and conditioned on the closing of that transaction.The Eagle Rock transaction is a compelling complement to Regency's platform and the pro forma combination with PVR Partners. The cash flow accretion from this transaction symbolizes Regency's commitment to unitholder growth while being opportunistic. Regency is now positioned firmly among the leaders in the broader MLP industry with a strong asset base and excellent prospects for future growth. ETE’s purchase of $400 million of Regency common units demonstrates its commitment and confidence in Regency’s successful future growth and value.