Marathon (MPC), 7-Eleven to Sell Stores Obeying FTC Order

Marathon Petroleum Corporation MPC and Dallas, TX-based convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc. agreed to sell hundreds of gasoline and diesel fuel outlets in 293 local markets across 20 states. This decision was made to resolve Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that 7-Eleven's acquisition of Marathon Petroleum's Speedway division violated federal antitrust laws.

Last month, Marathon Petroleum concluded the sale of its Speedway business comprising approximately 3,900 c-stores in 35 states to Japan-based retail group Seven &i Holdings, the owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, for $21 billion.

However, going by the top two US FTC experts, the conclusion of 7-Eleven's acquisition of multiple Speedway gas and convenience stations was suspected to be illegal and created difficulties in several local markets across the United States. They further said that the two involved parties culminated their deal at their own risk. The two officials believed that the commission was unable to strike an antitrust accord with the companies.

Per the complaint, retail gasoline and diesel fuel markets are extremely localized and customers have no economic or feasible substitutes to buying gasoline or diesel fuel from a retail station. The lawsuit alleges that in absence of a remedy, the acquisition will reduce the number of independent competitors in each of the 293 markets to three or even lesser.

According to the proposed consent decree, Marathon Petroleum and 7-Eleven must divest 124 retail fuel outlets to Anabi Oil including 123 Speedway outlets and one 7-Eleven outlet. They must also sell 106 retail fuel stores to Cross America Partners, which include 105 Speedway outlets and one 7-Eleven hub. In addition, they must sell 63 Speedway retail fuel stores to Jacksons Food Stores.

About Marathon Petroleum

Marathon Petroleum is an integrated, downstream energy company. It got its current form from the 2011 spin-off of Houston, TX-based Marathon Oil Corporation’s refining/sales business into a separate, independent and publicly-traded entity.  The company operates the country’s largest refining system with more than 3 million barrels of crude oil capacity per day across 16 refineries. The company’s marketing system includes branded locations across the United States including Marathon brand retail outlets.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Marathon Petroleum currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the energy  space are Whiting Petroleum Corporation WLL, Matador Resources Company MTDR and Oasis Petroleum Inc. OAS, each presently flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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