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Japan's Seven & i drops bid to buy US Speedway gas stations

By Ramla Soni

Seven & i, which runs the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, had reportedly been in talks to buy the Speedway business for $22bn

Japanese retail group Seven & i Holdings has dropped its bid to acquire Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Speedway gas stations in the US after resisting the price.

Seven & i, which runs the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, had reportedly been in exclusive talks to buy the Speedway business for $22bn (£17bn, €19bn).

However, after considering the deal, the company decided against it, deeming the price to be too high, said a source familiar with the matter.

The negotiations came after Marathon said that it would launch a sweeping restructuring last year. This included spinning off its Speedway retail business, which it said was worth as much as $18bn including debt.

Activist investor Elliott Management had encouraged Marathon to split into three companies, for a boost of as much as $40bn to shareholder value.

For Seven & i, the deal would have added to a portfolio of more than 1,000 gas stations and corner stores in the US that it acquired in 2017 through a $3.3bn deal with Sunoco.

Shares in Seven & i fell more than 15 per cent since the talks were first reported, outstripping a decline of 9 per cent in the Nikkei 225 average.

7-Eleven stores originated in America but Japanese retail executive Toshifumi Suzuki went from an initial tie-up to a chain selling everything from drinks to ready-made lunches and underwear. He began expanding the stores throughout Japan in the 1970s.

Seven & i Holdings, which also owns Ito-Yokado supermarkets, later rescued the US business, which went through bankruptcy.

FURTHER READING: Should you invest in Japan? The threats and opportunities

FURTHER READING: Japan to add digital yen to its 2020 agenda

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