Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP) has simply kept plugging along -- moving oil, natural gas, carbon dioxide, and similar products around the country.  On the heels of a strong earnings release, its partnership units are up a bit since I profiled them last September. Thanks to those same earnings enabling a cash distribution hike, its higher-priced units still yield a respectable  6.2%, fully covered by operating cash flow.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners vital stats

Operations The company owns energy pipelines, storage facilities, and oil wells.
Recent Price $72.33
Market Cap $22.7 billion
Trailing P/E Ratio 51.01
Return on Equity, Last 12 Months 19.1%

Source: Yahoo! Finance and Capital IQ, as of Jan. 27.

When it comes to a core stock worth owning, could you really ask for anything more? As it turns out, you just might get your chance at more of the same in the near future.

The general partner re-IPOs
Thanks in large part to the tax and legal complexities involved in running a partnership, Kinder Morgan has long had a convoluted corporate structure. In addition to the limited partner units, there's another publicly traded, deeply intertwined business, Kinder Morgan Management (NYSE: KMR).  Kinder Morgan Management offers an investment in essentially the same operations, but with an IRA-friendlier corporate structure.

As a partnership, there's a general partner stake involved in the Kinder Morgan family, as well. That stake is owned by regular old Kinder Morgan, once publicly traded, but taken private about four years ago. But with leveraged buyout owners like Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) looking to unwind their appreciated stakes, shares in the general partner are now scheduled to be sold again to the public later this year.

Re-IPOs of companies formerly owned by leveraged buyout agreements can be risky, since the debt acquired to support the buyout can severely hamper a company's future flexibility. That said, founder and CEO Richard Kinder expects to keep a 31% stake in the company. Given that huge vote of insider confidence, and the giant, cash-generating pipeline behind it, Kinder Morgan might be one re-IPO worth looking into owning.

At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta owned shares of Kinder Morgan Management. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.