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Report: Blackstone, ousted Energy Transfer exec working on deal for ETP assets

The private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is in talks to buy a stake in assets held by the giant gas pipeline partnership Energy Transfer Partners LP, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 22, citing "people familiar with the matter."

The sources did not specify which assets are involved in the deal, but one source said the deal could exceed $5 billion. Blackstone is teaming up with former Energy Transfer Equity LP CFO Jamie Welch, who was heavily involved in Energy Transfer's failed merger with Williams Cos. Inc. and was dismissed after the deal fell apart.

ETP is in the process of being acquired by its sister partnership Sunoco Logistics Partners LP in a unit-for-unit deal that would create the second-largest master limited partnership in the U.S.

Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics units were each up about 3% as of about 1:40 p.m. ET on Dec. 22, shortly after the Journal report was posted online, while Energy Transfer Equity stock was up 5.4%. ETP finished the day ahead by 2.2%, Sunoco Logistics gained 2.4%, and ETE picked up 2.8%.