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    ExxonMobil's Exit Strategy Nears Finish Line

    The sale of its 236 New Jersey locations will be the last market announcement in its 2008 divestment plan.

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News

    FAIRFAX, Va. -- Three years after launching a strategy to divest its company- and dealer-owned sites, ExxonMobil Corp. is heading into the home stretch with news that its New Jersey properties are in the process of being sold.

    In June 2008, ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing Co. grabbed headlines with its intention to exit the direct-served retail business in the United States. The move to sell approximately 2,200 sites was fueled by the company's belief that converting the majority of its markets to branded wholesale would be the best path to grow a competitive ExxonMobil.

    And now, a little more than three years later, ExxonMobil is selling off its Garden State holdings -- the last market in its strategy to convert its company-owned retail assets to a branded wholesale business, Claire Hassett, of ExxonMobil’s public and government affairs, told CSNews Online.

    "We are committed to the presence of our brands throughout the U.S. through our strong distributor network," she explained. "This decision results from ExxonMobil's continual evaluation of all aspects of its business in order to maximize the opportunities for long-term growth for the benefit of our employees, customers and shareholders."

    Earlier this year, Ben Soraci, U.S. retail sales director for ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, told Convenience Store News that the company's focus was shifting from the backcourt to the forecourt because the fuel brands are ExxonMobil's "bread and butter."

    As the company exits the direct-served retail business, ExxonMobil looks to technology and customer loyalty programs to be the tipping point in favor of the Exxon and Mobil brands over the competition, Soraci added.

    The latest deal involves 236 ExxonMobil locations in New Jersey. After "careful evaluation," the company reached agreements to sell its stations and associated fleet operations in 13 counties to its existing branded wholesalers, PMG New Jersey II LLC, Lehigh Gas Corp. and NJ Energy Corp., Hassett explained. However, in compliance with New Jersey law, ExxonMobil's first step in the transaction will be to offer eligible dealers a Right of First Refusal and bona fide offer to purchase their sites, she added.

    Sites not bought by dealers will be sold to PMG New Jersey II LLC, Lehigh Gas Corp. and NJ Energy Corp., she said.

    "These stations will retain the Exxon gasoline brand, allowing consumers to continue to purchase the same high-quality Exxon fuels, and use their ExxonMobil credit cards and Speedpass devices," Hassett said.

    Since embarking on this journey, ExxonMobil has entered into several notable deals. 7-Eleven Inc. acquired ExxonMobil's retail interests in 183 Florida sites in Orlando, Southwest Florida, Palm Beach and Broward County, including five unused parcels of land. Bucks Inc. purchased 89 ExxonMobil locations in the Chicago metropolitan area, and Southside Oil LLC took 172 Exxon gasoline stations, mainly in Maryland.

    In addition, Global Partners LP purchased 221 Mobil-branded retail gas stations and fuel supply rights in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island from ExxonMobil. The deal included a total of 221 locations, of which 148 are dealer-operated Mobil stations, as well as gasoline and diesel supply rights for an additional 31 Mobil stations owned and operated by independent Mobil dealers.


    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News
    • About Melissa Kress Melissa Kress joined EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner in November 2010. Her primary beats include alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Kress has been a professional journalist since 1995. A graduate of West Virginia University, she began her career in community journalism before moving to business-to-business publishing in 2000, covering commercial real estate.

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