Both are very well managed companies. ETP primarily has interstate and intrastate regulated natural gas pipelines and related assets. EPD primarily has regulated natural gas products (ethane, butane, etc) pipelines and related assets. EPD is larger.
First, EPD, along with ETP, are my largest MLP investments; I do not own any TPP.
Regarding the TPP/EPD merger, the combined entity will clearly be stronger and more flexible than either entity was separately. This will reduce capital costs, overhead (modestly), and provide for even more coordination to improve cash flow.
Lower capital costs seems to be the primary driver. The new entity should be able to issue debt at lower interest rates (over time); in addition, a larger entity should result in an even more secure distribution, resulting in a lower yield for the combined entity. (Size matters!!!)
Net, net, I am expect the combined entity to continue to provide increasing distribtions to its unit holders.
The transaction will provide you with increased capital, and within 2 years, your distribution income will exceed current TPP distribution. If current income is your primary driver, you can sell your TPP/EPD and trade into another MLP with the same or higher distribution (this will result in a distribution as stable as TPP, but you will have gained capital).
Win, win for all parties. Dan Duncan has engineered a great transaction, balancing all parties interests. TPP holders win now, EPD holders win long term (TPP holders have the option to participate in long term or trade to smaller higher yield MLP now).