Mergers & Acquisitions

BP to Acquire Thorntons Convenience Stores

Will use chain to grow across the Midwest and beyond
Photograph courtesy of Thorntons

HOUSTON — BP is taking full ownership of the Thorntons convenience-store chain after two and a half years as part owner as part of a joint venture established in 2019. BP said the acquisition, announced July 13, will allow the vertical oil company to grow its presence in the U.S. fuel and convenience retail business.

Specifically, BP has agreed to acquire the majority share it does not already own in the c-store business from ArcLight Capital Partners LLC.

Once the transaction is complete, BP will become a leading convenience operator in the Midwest with 208 owned and operated locations across six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida. Further, BP says it plans to retain and build on the Thorntons brand.

“We have a proud history of high-quality retail brands across the country,” said David Lawler, chairman and president of bp America. “Incorporating Thorntons into our business combines their customer-first culture with our existing U.S. retail network and will help us deliver our convenience strategy of offering customers what they want, where and when they want it.”

Based in Louisville, Ky., Thorntons provides a competitive consumer offer and strong business operations, BP said. BP intends to build on and further enhance this long tradition of providing a distinctive customer experience while creating integrated value across BP’s mobility and convenience and fuels supply businesses.

According to BP, convenience retail is evolving amid rising demand from consumers with ever-changing needs. Citing Euromonitor analysis, the company said the convenience opportunity will nearly double over the next decade in 45 of the leading economies of the world, growing at more than 5% each year.

This anticipated growth aligns with the strategy for BP’s convenience and mobility business, which aims to nearly double global earnings by 2030, from $5 billion in 2019, and deliver 15%-20% returns. BP aims to increase the number of strategic convenience sites in its global network from around 2,000 today to more than 3,000 by 2030. 

“We are committed to putting the customer at the heart of what we do to help accelerate the mobility revolution and redefine the convenience experience at service stations,” said Greg Franks, senior vice president, mobility and convenience, BP Americas. “Thorntons has generated long-term customer loyalty over the last 50 years because of its best-in-class operations. We are excited to welcome them into our family.”

Today, BP has more than 11.5 million global customer touchpoints per day with a target of increasing that number to more than 15 million by 2025. BP’s customer app, BPme, has more than 3 million transacting customers globally, and the company aims to grow the number of customers on its digital platforms more than tenfold by 2030.

Thorntons’ successful, customer-focused app and digital presence will help enhance the digital solutions needed to develop innovative and personalized offers, the company said. This includes high-quality food, loyalty programs and next generation mobility solutions, including electrification.

The deal is expected to close later this year following regulatory approvals. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.  

BP, and specifically its ampm retail arm, ranks No. 8 on CSP’s 2021 list of the Top 202 largest convenience-store chains in the United States. Thorntons ranks No. 38.

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