7-Eleven’s Japanese Owner Buying Speedway Gas Stations for $21B After COVID-19 Fallout

The merger will form a super-network of almost 14,000 convenience stores across America.

At the peak of spring’s COVID-19 shutdowns, gas stations’ sudden loss of retail business made their convenience stores a liability to petroleum companies, who quickly began to dump the assets as dead weight. One megacorp’s trash is another’s treasure, and Marathon Petroleum’s chain of Speedway gas stations is a payday for 7-Eleven owners Seven & i Holdings, which announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire the Speedway brand for $21 billion.

The largest acquisition in 7-Eleven corporate history will see some 3,900 Speedway stores across 35 U.S. states link up with 9,800 7-Eleven outlets to form a nationwide network of close to 14,000 stores. Japan’s Seven & i notes in its news release that Speedway’s retail locations “highly complement the locations of stores of 7-Eleven,” and that the combined entity will have a presence in 47 of the States’ 50 most populous cities.

Should regulators approve of the merger, which will add thousands of more stores to Seven & i’s existing, 69,000-outlet empire, the multibillion-dollar transaction will go through in early 2021. The company’s press release does not mention a rebranding of Speedway stations as 7-Elevens, so the brands may remain distinct, even if their ownership doesn’t.

The acquisition comes despite Seven & i reporting a steep decline in revenue due to the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns, with profit plunging 73 percent to $131 million in the quarter ending in May per Forbes. Profitability is expected to slowly rebuild, though the fiscal year’s outlook is still expected to dip 45 percent to $1.1 billion in profit.

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