Is Sunoco’s sponsorship of NASCAR in jeopardy?

UPDATE Bob Owens, Sr. VP of Marketing for Sunoco, has published a letter to distributors indicating: "This corporate ownership change should be transparent and seamless. The iconic Sunoco brand, and our support of NASCAR will continue, as we strive to 'keep people moving'."

04/30/12 Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. and Sunoco, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby ETP will acquire Sunoco in a unit and cash transaction valued at $50.13 per share, or a total consideration of approximately $5.3 billion, based on ETP's closing price on April 27, 2012. This combination will create one of the largest and most diversified energy partnerships in the country by expanding ETP's geographic footprint and strengthening its presence in the transportation, terminalling and logistics of crude oil, NGLs and refined products. By acquiring Sunoco, ETP will also own Sunoco's general partner interest and the incentive distribution rights (IDRs) in Sunoco Logistics Partners, as well as Sunoco's 32.4 percent interest in Sunoco Logistics Partners' limited partner units and Sunoco's branded retail business, which generates additional stable cash flows from a portfolio of approximately 4,900 retail locations in the U.S. Sunoco's logistics and retail businesses will continue to maintain headquarters in the Philadelphia area consistent with their current operating presence. In addition, under the merger agreement, Sunoco will continue its plans for exiting its refining business as previously announced, as well as continue its plans for the proposed refinery joint venture being discussed by Sunoco and The Carlyle Group. The transaction has been approved by each company's board of directors and is expected to close in the third or fourth quarter of 2012, subject to approval of Sunoco shareholders and customary regulatory approvals.(in part from sunocoinc.com), no word on how or if this will affect the sponsorship of NASCAR and use of Sunoco Racing Fuel in NASCAR.

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