Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. issued a statement expressing its disappointment regarding statements issued earlier that day by Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Commissioner Rohit Chopra suggesting that 7-Eleven’s acquisition of Speedway LLC raises competitive concerns in certain local markets. 7-Eleven said that the FTC statements fail to acknowledge the facts that led to 7-Eleven closing the transaction.
7-Eleven asserted that it was legally allowed to close on the Speedway transaction last week and statements or implications to the contrary are false.
Slaughter and Chopra, the company said, failed to mention that at the end of April 7-Eleven and the FTC staff entered into a timing agreement permitting 7-Eleven to close on May 14 as well as a settlement agreement that resolved all of the competitive concerns that the commissioners referenced in their statement by having 7-Eleven divest 293 fuel outlets.
“We were informed that the FTC staff, including leaders in the Bureau of Competition, recommended that the FTC Commissioners approve that settlement,” a 7-Eleven statement said. “In other words, a settlement resolving the purportedly illegal aspects of the 7-Eleven/Speedway transaction has already been negotiated and the commissioners have already reviewed it.”
If the commissioners approve that settlement, said the company, it will resolve all of the competitive concerns that the commissioners reference in their statement. 7-Eleven has been operating under the terms of that settlement agreement since it was signed and continues to do so.
Despite FTC staff’s recommendation that the commission approve the negotiated settlement, on May 11, 2021 — less than three days before close — Slaughter and Chopra indicated that they wanted more time to review the settlement agreement.
While 7-Eleven took the request seriously, such a last-minute delay would have created enormous disruption for the employees at Speedway and to the business.
“Given that there was no legal basis for such a delay and given that 7-Eleven was abiding by the negotiated settlement agreement, we closed today on schedule,” said the company.
In their statement, the two commissioners suggest that 7-Eleven did not give the commission enough time to review the transaction. Despite this, 7-Eleven said it could have pushed the commission to vote on the transaction as early as January 2021. 7-Eleven chose instead to work with FTC staff to identify Speedway fuel outlets that might create competitive concerns if acquired by 7-Eleven and to identify strong buyers for those outlets. To achieve this, 7-Eleven modified its timing agreement with the FTC staff four times – on Feb. 2; Feb. 19; March 22; and April 9. All of the extensions were at the request of FTC staff. The final April 9, extension made clear that 7-Eleven planned to close on May 14. and yet
The delay request from Slaughter and Chopra didn’t come until May 11.
The company said that the only concern expressed by Slaughter and Chopra about the negotiated settlement agreement was that it allowed too much time for the required divestitures to take place. Ironically, according to 7-Eleven, the company did not ask for that amount of time. It was proposed by FTC staff to assist the proposed buyers, and 7-Eleven offered several times to change to the originally anticipated shorter time frame.
7–Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses nearly 77,000 stores in 16 countries and regions, including nearly 16,000 in North America.