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    ETP May Sell All C-stores and Gas Stations Acquired From Sunoco

    Marathon Petroleum, Alimentation Couche-Tard and Global Partners are named as possible suitors for the 4,900 c-stores and gas stations.

    PHILADELPHIA -- Sunoco Inc.'s 4,900 convenience stores and gas stations may not become the property of Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) for long.

    According to a Wall Street Journal Deal Journal report, the retail locations are perhaps not a great fit for the pipeline master limited partnership, which agreed to buy Sunoco for $5.3 billion on April 30.

    Hence, analysts and bankers told the news outlet that selling Sunoco's retail division makes a lot of sense. Raymond James analysts said that ETP could receive up to $1.8 billion for the 4,900 c-stores and gas stations.

    "Energy Transfer I would believe is getting a good amount of interest," Raymond James analyst Darren Horowitz told the newspaper.

    Assuming interest in the retail locations is in fact high, the question then becomes what company would buy them and if they would like to buy all of the sites or a portion of them. The Sunoco retail locations are spread throughout 23 states.

    According to the Journal, Marathon Petroleum Corp., Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and Global Partners LP are the most likely suitors, insiders say.

    All three companies could make sense regarding a possible purchase of Sunoco's retail locations. As CSNews Online reported on May 1, Marathon Petroleum CEO Gary Heminger said the company is always looking into new acquisitions for its Speedway division.

    Couche-Tard recently purchased Norwegian-based Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA. However, buying former Sunoco properties could allow the Laval, Quebec-based retailer to expand its Circle K footprint in the Northeast and Southeastern United States. Couche-Tard was rebuffed in its attempt to purchase Casey's General Stores Inc. in 2010.

    Global Partners has also been aggressive. It closed a deal on March 2 to acquire 100 percent of Alliance Energy LLP's membership interests, which include approximately 540 gas stations. In addition, Getty Realty Corp. announced last week it entered into a fuel supply and services agreement with Global Partners to provide gasoline to 254 New York City-area gas stations and convenience stores.

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