Executive Chair Kelcy Warren of Energy Transfer L.P. (NYSE: ET) acquired 3 million shares of the company’s common units in three purchases over the three trading days through Monday. Warren, who is also a co-founder of the company, now owns approximately 64.6 million ET common units, valued at nearly $840 million based on a Tuesday morning price of $13.01.
Energy Transfer last week announced last week that it will acquire another natural gas pipeline company, Crestwood Equity Partners L.P. (NYSE: CEQP), for $7.1 billion in Energy Transfer stock. The deal includes $3.3 billion Crestwood debt. Energy Transfer will exchange each common unit of Crestwood for just over two of its own common units. That implies about 207 million Energy Transfer shares, from which we may infer that the company is going to top up its share count. Warren’s purchase could help the stock hold the line if new shares are issued.
However, that is unlikely to matter much to Warren, who owns about 2% of Energy Transfer’s outstanding common units and has led the company to acquisitions totaling around $13.7 billion in the past few years. Energy Transfer acquired Semgroup for $5 billion in cash and stock in 2019, Enable Midstream for $7.2 billion in stock in 2021, and Lotus Midstream for $1.45 billion in cash and stock earlier this year.
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Warren also sued Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke in 2022 claiming that O’Rourke defamed him by linking a $1 million donation to Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election to a failure of the Texas grid following 2021’s severe winter storm. Energy Transfer posted a profit of $1.22 per common unit for the first quarter of 2021, more than 300% above the consensus estimate. A state appeals court dismissed Warren’s suit in June.
Energy Transfer has added crude oil and refined products to its pipeline and storage holdings, beefing up its position in natural gas transportation in North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado and adding assets on the Houston ship channel. The company paid a cash distribution of $0.31 per common unit on Monday and said at the time that it plans to continue making a $0.01 per share annualized increase to its cash payout, with a targeted annual distribution increase of 3% to 5%. Based on an annualized rate of $1.24, the one-penny increase represents an annualized increase of 0.08%.
Warren’s big stock buy has had little effect on the company’s share price early Tuesday. The common units traded essentially flat.
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