Marathon Petroleum may sell Speedway to Couche-Tard: Report

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Multibillion-dollar oil giant Marathon Petroleum may be in talks with buyers who are interested in purchasing its Speedway gas station and convenience store chain, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

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When asked to confirm the potential sale, a Marathon Petroleum spokesperson told FOX Business, “We don’t typically provide comment on market speculation.”

However, unnamed insiders have reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that the Canadian convenience store chain Alimentation Couche-Tard is one of the potential buyers exploring options with the oil company. Representatives at Alimentation Couche-Tard did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

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Previously, Marathon had been in discussions with Seven & I Holdings – the parent company of 7-Eleven in Japan – though the deal fell through due to the oil company’s $22 billion price tag, according to a March report from the Nikkei Asian Review. Sources at the time told the publication the acquisition of Speedway would be a risky move if revenue did not go up as anticipated.

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This decision was ultimately made days before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a “global pandemic.”

Marathon has reportedly been in talks with buyers after billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation sent an open letter to the company’s board in September in favor of splitting Speedway, a retail entity, from its midstream and refining companies.

“We will thoroughly evaluate Elliott's proposal and look forward to continuing our constructive engagement around these issues,” Marathon wrote in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission news release on Sept. 25.

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This week, the company submitted a separate registration statement with the SEC that the sale of Speedway to “an independent, publicly traded company,” would be pushed to a later date.

“The initial target for the separation was the fourth quarter of 2020 but has been revised to early 2021,” Marathon’s statement reads.

Marathon operates more than 3,900 Speedway locations in North America, while Couche-Tard operates a total of 9,799 locations as of Feb. 2.

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Both companies’ stocks have experienced a dip during the coronavirus lockdowns as millions sheltered in place instead of traveling. Marathon’s market capitalization was at $25.02 billion as of June 18. Couche-Tard’s market cap was at around $35.2 billion (47.89 billion Canadian dollars).

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