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If consummated, the transaction would become one of the largest leveraged buyouts and energy-related deals of the past year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the suitors, which also include private-equity firm Riverstone Holdings, could cement the deal as soon as Friday, though negotiations could yet fall apart.
The acquisition talks come just months after El Paso reached a $21 billion agreement to sell itself to Kinder Morgan (KMI), which at the time tipped its hand toward selling the oil-and-gas exploration unit.
Efforts to sell the business began in November and financial information about the assets was sent out to potential buyers in January, the Journal reported.
Shares of El Paso rose 0.60% to $26.93 Friday morning, while Kinder Morgan shares gained 0.40% to $32.45.