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    BJ's Reportedly Eyeing Hess' Retail Portfolio

    Insiders say the wholesale club chain’s owners are making inquiries.

    BJ's Wholesale Club

    NEW YORK -- The private-equity owners of BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. have expressed interest in purchasing the retail division of Hess Corp., according to a Wall Street Journal report that cites insiders.

    CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and Leonard Green & Partners LP have enlisted bankers and made inquiries about the chain of convenience stores and gas stations, which they might pair with BJ's wholesale clubs in the event of an acquisition, the report stated.

    The two firms purchased BJ's, which operates approximately 200 wholesale clubs in 15 states in the East, for $2.8 billion in 2011. More than 50 percent of BJ's locations feature gas stations.

    Although some potential buyers have expressed interest in purchasing parts of the chain, the insiders who spoke to the Wall Street Journal said Hess would prefer to find one buyer for its 1,300-plus sites.

    At the same time, Hess also has stated that it is preparing for a potential spinoff of the division, rather than a sale. "Prospective purchasers of these assets will have an opportunity to compete in terms of our company maximizing value," Hess CEO John Hess said during a November investors conference. "Whatever maximizes value, we will do that."

    Hess Director of Communications Denny Moynihan told CSNews Online that the company had no comment on the story.

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