According to the New York Post, Canada-based Alimentation Couche-Tard is planning to sell 1,250 of its locations over possible antitrust concerns ahead of a potential acquisition of the Speedway chain from Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC).
Couche-Tard is expecting to raise about $4 billion with the sale, the New York Post reports.
MPC had been planning to spin off Speedway into an independent, publicly traded company but has moved the target date for the separation from fourth-quarter 2020 to “early 2021” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January, MPC also began exploring a sale of Speedway rather than a spinoff, and attracted several other major buyers, including Seven & I Holdings, the Japan-based owner of 7-Eleven, as well as U.K.-based EG Group. Then, in June, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company had begun negotiations with Couche-Tard.
Couche-Tard may be looking to appease the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to the New York Post, which could be concerned that a combination of the two chains could raise food prices at those locations, especially during a time when fewer people are going out to eat.
The company wants to tread lightly with the FTC, one source told the New York Post, as it was recently forced to pay a $3.5 million penalty over allegations that it had violated a 2018 order requiring it to sell 10 stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin after a smaller acquisition.