On January 22, 2013, Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (the "Partnership") entered into an Equity Distribution Agreement (the "Agreement") with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("BofA Merrill Lynch"). Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, the Partnership may sell from time to time through BofA Merrill Lynch, as the Partnership's sales agent, the Partnership's common units representing limited partner interests having an aggregate offering price of up to $200,000,000 (the "Units"). Sales of the Units, if any, will be made by means of ordinary brokers' transactions on the New York Stock Exchange at market prices, in block transactions or as otherwise agreed by the Partnership and BofA Merrill Lynch.
This means they can sell large blocks of units (up to $200M worth, or about 4 million units) through Merrill Lynch, without having to have a secondary offering, or without telling the public when they do it. It is both good and bad in that they can sell to an entity like a mutual fund at a higher price than an SO (market price less commission fees to ML) but it also slightly dilutes the rest of the units.