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7-Eleven, Speedway Merger Proceeded Despite FTC Probe

Officials from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that 7-Eleven’s parent company moved ahead in its merger arrangement with Marathon Petroleum Corporation even as the commission continues to probe the deal, according to a Friday (May 14) press release.

Federal Trade Commission Acting Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Commissioner Rohit Chopra said that Seven & i Holdings announced that it had wrapped up a $21 billion deal with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, buying approximately 3,900 Speedway retail fuel and convenience store businesses from Marathon.

“We have reason to believe that this transaction is illegal under Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, raising significant competitive concerns in hundreds of local retail gasoline and diesel fuel markets across the country. In many local markets, the transaction is either a merger-to-monopoly or reduces the number of competitors from three to two,” Slaughter and Chopra said in the press release.

The officials noted that the commission has the ability to “challenge these harmful mergers” and does so with regularity with the support of a majority of commissioners.

Slaughter and Chopra said in the press release that “the parties have closed their transaction at their own risk.”

The officials noted in the press release that the FTC had expended sizable resources looking into the deal but “has not yet come to an agreement with the parties and a majority of the Commission that would fully resolve the competitive concerns.”

“Seven and Marathon’s decision to close under these circumstances is highly unusual, and we are extremely troubled by it,” Slaughter and Chopra said in the press release.

In the Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. press release, Seven said that it “announces that the acquisition of the shares and other interests of the companies operating the convenience store and fuel retail businesses of U.S. Company Marathon Petroleum Corporation (‘MPC’) mainly under the Speedway brand (excluding certain fuel retail operations with direct dealers and certain other businesses) by the Company’s consolidated subsidiary 7-Eleven, Inc.”

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