For Seven & i, owner of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, the deal helps it shift its focus beyond a saturated Japan market, multiplying its portfolio of US gas stations and corner stores acquired through a $3.3 billion deal with Sunoco in 2017.
The sale of Speedway, one of the country's largest convenience store chains with almost 4,000 outlets, is the biggest corporate deal in the oil sector since the coronavirus slashed demand for fuel early this year.
By purchasing Speedway, which ranks third in terms of store count in the United States, industry leader Seven & i will get a 1.4-fold increase in its number of convenience stores in the country, strengthening its dominance.
Marathon Petroleum, based in OH, has been struggling financially and has shuttered operations in two refineries. It had been seeking to spin off Speedway for months.
Seven & i had made an earlier attempt to buy Speedway, but gave up in March after failing to agree on pricing.
Its owner, Marathon Petroleum, has agreed to sell the chain to the owner of 7-Eleven, creating a gas station behemoth, on the scale of McDonald's or Walmart. The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
Marathon, under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, said a year ago it would launch sweeping restructuring, including spinning off Speedway, which it said was worth as much as $18 billion, including debt.
Seven & i is the largest convenience store chain operator in Japan, with 21,000 stores there. Struggling with lower sales, Marathon announced last week that it would not restart two refineries in New Mexico and California that it had idled in April.