Energy Transfer Sells 32% Ownership in Rover Pipe to Blackstone

In a surprise move, Energy Transfer Partners has sold what amounts to be 32.44% of the ownership of the still uncompleted Rover Pipeline to Blackstone, a private equity and so-called alternative equity firm based in New York City. In fact, Blackstone is the largest alternative equity firm (investing in things other than stocks/bonds/cash) in the world. Blackstone is paying ET $1.57 billion in a somewhat complicated transaction. There are multiple companies, on paper, involved. ET has a subsidiary (on paper) called HoldCo which owns 65% of the Rover project. Blackstone (and its subsidiary Blackstone Energy Partners) is buying 49.9% of HoldCo. When you do the math, it works out to be a 32.44% stake in the Rover Pipeline venture. Rover, as we have covered, is the $3.7 billion, 711-mile pipeline project that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. The project is facing setbacks and delays in both Ohio and West Virginia due to various accidents and spills. Phase 1 of the project–from Cadiz, OH to Defiance, OH–was supposed to be online by yesterday. That has now slipped to “late summer” (see Rover Pipeline’s Phase 1 In-Service Date Slips to “Late Summer”). The ET/Blackstone deal will close by the end of this year, presumably when the pipeline is up and running…

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