FINDLAY, Ohio -- The more than $23 billion union of Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and Andeavor will bring together not only two major refiners but also combine two sizable company-owned retail portfolios into one network stretching from coast to coast. But under what brand?
During the April 30 conference call announcing the deal, MPC Chairman and CEO Gary Heminger was vague. “For company-owned stores, we plan to leverage Speedway’s fully integrated home-office, back-office and point-of-sale platforms to drive earnings growth. We see potential for significant synergies through combined best practices and economies of scale throughout our entire retail network, which becomes nationwide in scope,” he said.
He did not say definitively whether that effort would involve converting Andeavor’s retail brands. In an interview with Alix Steel for "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas" on May 3, Heminger moved one step closer to officially announcing a rebrand to Speedway.
“The way they [Andeavor] go to market today is with many different brands,” he said. “We’re going to bring in the Speedway brand, just like we turned over the Hess stores here in the East, and we’ll take the Speedway brand to all of those company-owned and company-operated stores. So we’ll have about 4,000 Speedway stores across the country."
UPDATE: In a interview with Fox Business Network (FBN) on May 3, Heminger was even more emphatic: "We are going to turn [Andeavor's retail outlets] into Speedway and have one system across the U.S.," he said.
“We will now take Speedway coast to coast, we’ll take the Marathon brand coast to coast,” Heminger also said in an interview with radio station WJR-760 AM. “We will more than likely keep Arco; it’s a very strong brand on the West Coast. We will keep Arco on the West Coast down into Mexico, but I would expect that we will take the Marathon brand. They have about 2,800 branded stations, I would say at least 2,300 of those or so will become Marathon brand and then we'll keep the Arco brand where it is the strongest.”
In 2014, Speedway closed the $2.8 billion acquisition of Hess Corp.'s 1,245 retail outlets. At the time, Heminger said Speedway would rebrand all Hess retail locations within 36 months. The company accomplished the conversion in about 16 months, he said on the call.
Findlay, Ohio-based MPC sells Marathon-brand gasoline through about 5,600 independently owned retail outlets in 20 states and the District of Columbia. MPC’s Enon, Ohio-based Speedway LLC retail subsidiary owns and operates about 2,740 c-stores in 21 states. In mid-April, Speedway also acquired 78 Express Mart c-stores from Petr-All Petroleum Corp., Syracuse, N.Y.
San Antonio-based Andeavor’s retail marketing system includes more than 3,200 outlets with fuel brands such as Arco, SuperAmerica, Shell, Exxon, Mobil, Tesoro, USA Gasoline and Giant. About 1,100 of those are company-owned locations.