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Mergers & Acquisitions

New CEO for Thorntons as Joint-Venture Acquisition Closes

BP executive takes the reins at regional retailer
Photograph courtesy of Thorntons

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –BP Plc. and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC's joint-venture acquisition of Thorntons Inc. closed Feb. 11, the companies have announced. Simon Richards, head of regional development for Fuels North America for BP Products North America, has been appointed the new president and CEO of Thorntons LLC.

Founded in 1971, Thorntons operates 191 convenience stores in six states: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida. It is No. 37 in the Top 40 update of CSP's 2018 Top 202 listing of the largest c-store chains in the United States.

The joint venture, revealed in December, will accelerate Thorntons' growth and expand its footprint, the companies said. They did not release the terms of the transaction. BP is participating as the minority partner in this nonoperated joint venture, it said.

“This agreement complements BP’s U.S. retail business and is another step forward in the Fuels North America growth strategy,” the London-based company told CSP Daily News in December.

All of the existing Thorntons convenience stores will continue to operate under the Thorntons name and will retain Thorntons team members chainwide, including those working out of the company’s store support center in Louisville, where it is based.

Richards replaces Matt Thornton, chairman, president and CEO of Thorntons, as CEO. Neither Thorntons nor BP responded to CSP Daily News requests for details on Matt Thornton's status by posting time.

Richards has been with BP for nearly 25 years, holding his current position since 2015. Previously, he was head of strategy and business development for BP West Coast Products in Bellingham, Wash.; mergers and acquisitions project director for the divestment of the Texas City, Texas, refinery and associated assets; director of U.S. refining business efficiency in Chicago; chief of staff for refining in London; and other roles for London-based BP.

Boston-based ArcLight is a private-equity firm focused on energy infrastructure investments. Through subsidiaries, it acquired Gulf Oil LP and Gulf's assured dealers in late 2015 from Cumberland Farms Inc., Framingham, Mass.

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