Hess Will Acquire Rest of WilcoHess

Retail exit strategy still moving forward as a more consolidated package

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- Although it is still moving forward with its plans to get out of the retail segment, Hess. Corp. said that it has agreed to acquire the interest in Winston-Salem, N.C.-based convenience store and travel plaza operator WilcoHess LLC that it did not already hold.

"We owned 44%, and with this agreement, we've agreed to purchase the remaining 56% interest in WilcoHess," a Hess spokesperson told CSP Daily News.

"As previously announced, Hess Corp. will continue with its plan to fully exit the downstream business, but we believe that the agreement will enable Hess to continue its divestiture of the downstream business in a way that maximizes value for shareholders," he said. It ties up the Hess retail offering in a neater package, he said.

"It will be business as usual during this process" of acquiring the WilcoHess locations, he added. "WilcoHess will continue normal operations in their stores. And after the transaction [closes], Hess Retail and WilcoHess will work as a team to identify the most efficient way to operate the combined businesses."

The company cannot and will not announce the terms of the deal, the spokesperson said.

Although a timetable has not been established, Hess announced its decision in March to sell off its retail network as part of a "transformation plan" for the company. And after a long battle with investor Elliott Management Corp. earlier this year over its management and the direction of the company, Hess has a new board in place. The board said it remains committed to the transformation plan.

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based WilcoHess operates 353 convenience stores and 37 travel plazas in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia. It was founded in 1963 by A.T. Williams Oil Co., which joined with then-Amerada Hess Corp. in 2001 to form a limited liability corporation.

Woodbridge, N.J.-based Hess is a leading global independent energy company primarily engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas and the marketing of refined petroleum products, natural gas and electricity. Hess is a major independent gasoline-convenience store retailers on the East Coast with more than 1,350 retail outlets in 16 East Coast states.