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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- This year proved to be an active one for the convenience store industry, as assets changing hands often populated the news headlines. While the deals are too numerous to detail here, a few major players including BP plc, 7-Eleven Inc. and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. stood out in the deal-making of 2012.
BP made news when it revealed it reached a deal with Tesoro Corp. for the San Antonio-based company to purchase its ARCO retail network across the Southwest and its Carson, Calif., refinery for $2.5 billion. As part of the deal, which includes approximately 800 dealer-operated sites in southern California, Nevada and Arizona, Tesoro will acquire the ARCO brand and associated registered trademarks, as well as a master franchisee license for the ampm convenience store brand. In turn, BP will exclusively license the ARCO retail brand rights from Tesoro for northern California, Oregon and Washington and continue to produce transportation fuels at its Cherry Point, Wash., refinery. BP will also retain ownership of the ampm convenience store brand.
Shortly after that deal, BP grabbed headlines again when it announced that the ampm brand would exit markets in the eastern part of the United States -- including Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Orlando by the end of this year. Company spokesman Scott Dean told CSNews Online that the "strategic decision" will turn the brand's focus to markets in the western U.S. where ampm has more than 900 locations.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven also had a busy year on its road to open at least 620 new locations in 2012. Among its many moves, the retail chain closed a deal to add 74 operating c-stores and two land parcels from Prima Marketing LLC to its portfolio. The bulk of the stores are in West Virginia. In addition, 7-Eleven purchased the retail and wholesale assets of TETCO Inc. That deal included c-stores in Utah, and the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio areas of Texas. The move marked 7-Eleven's return to the San Antonio market, which it exited in 1989.
7-Eleven had a busy fall as well, signing separate deals with EZ Energy USA and Handee Marts. The pact with EZ Energy USA gave the retailer 67 convenience stores in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, while its deal with Handee Marts added 58 7-Eleven convenience stores to its portfolio in those same markets, as well as locations in northern West Virginia and western Maryland.
Meanwhile, Speedway LLC, a division of Marathon Petroleum Corp., kicked off the year with its agreement to take all 88 operating locations of GasAmerica Services Inc. The convenience stores are located throughout Indiana and Ohio. The deal, which closed in May, also included several parcels of undeveloped land for future development.
Casey's General Stores Inc. got into the action, too, when it went under contract to purchase 27 c-stores, 22 of them from fellow Midwest convenience retailer Kum & Go LC. The Kum & Go stores are located in Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota.
Aside from all the action in the U.S., industry players made some international moves in 2012 as well. Canada-based retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. made the biggest splash with its bid for Norway's Statoil chain. The deal, valued at $2.679 billion, became official in June and gave Couche-Tard stores in Scandinavia, Poland, Russia and some other eastern European countries.
Couche-Tard’s other moves included a year-end deal, signed through its Mac's Convenience Stores LLC division, for 25 stores in Illinois, three in Missouri and one in Oklahoma. In addition, Couche-Tard acquired 29 locations from Florida Oil Holdings LLC. All of the sites will be operated by its Florida division under the Circle K banner.