The Wall Street Journal is reporting that oil refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. is preparing to spin off its gas-station chain and considering shaking up its executive leadership to appease activist shareholders, including Elliott Management Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.
Marathon’s board is discussing changes, including a spinoff of its Speedway gas-station operation and potentially replacing Chairman and CEO Gary Heminger and other executives, the people said. Marathon is set to report earnings Oct. 31, and may reverse course on some or all of the moves.
Speedway is one of the nation’s largest convenience store chains, with around 4,000 c-stores in the U.S. Owned and operated by Marathon, the company also has long-term fuel supply contracts with other gas stations.
The Journal reported that Elliott proposed last month that Marathon split into a refining business, a pipeline operation and a gas-station chain, echoing a similar push three years ago by the hedge fund. D.E. Shaw Group, another Marathon shareholder, also supports such a breakup, according to people familiar with the matter.