Shell has agreed to acquire all of the common units of Shell Midstream Partners it did not already own for $15.85 a unit, in cash. The transaction is worth $1.9 billion. Shell currently owns 68.5% of the common units.
Back in February, Shell had offered $12.89 for each common unit in a zero-premium bid.
Many years ago, Master Limited Partnerships were in vogue and it was the fashion for E&P companies to spin off their midstream assets into publicly-traded MLPs. Shell were fashionably late in that they only spun off Shell Midstream for $23 per unit in October 2014, right before the crude oil price crash.
That crash laid bare the claim that MLPs had low risks and therefore low cost of capital. In addition, the tax rules changed in 2018 reducing the benefits of MLPs. Most publicly-traded MLPs have already been taken private by their sponsor. Why pay a dividend of 8% on a MLP when you can bring it inhouse by borrowing at 5%?
The transaction has been approved by the Conflicts Committee but most minority investors remain unhappy as they believe that the deal undervalues the company, particularly as some of the midstream assets were damaged by Hurricane Ida in 2021.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.