The first quarter of 2023 brought a flurry of acquisitions — and rumors of more to come — across the convenience store industry.
A return of large-scale deals in many ways defined the first few months of 2023. The headliners included EG Group striking a $1.5 billion sale-leaseback deal for its East Coast c-stores and oil giant BP reaching a $1.3 billion agreement to buy 281-location travel stop chain TravelCenters of America amid multiple bids — including one from a very persistent Arko. On Wednesday, Global Partners and ExxonMobil announced the acquisition of 64 Houston-area c-stores and fueling facilities from Texas-based retailer Landmark Industries.
As Michael Headly, director for global business consulting firm AlixPartners, put it in a recent interview: “The stars aligned in a kind of unique way that makes this a really attractive time to be a seller.”
He and other experts said that pressures from inflation, hiring difficulties, increasing digital needs and more have made consolidation an attractive option for many operators. A report from Bain & Company earlier this year echoed that, suggesting some companies might also be more acquisitive this year if they had built up extra cash during COVID-19.
“You’ve got such a highly fragmented industry, there are a lot of targets out there, small and midsize,” said Headly.
There are signs the big M&A trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Kum & Go is reportedly looking for a buyer for its 400-plus locations, and Delek US Holdings has indicated it might be looking to either ramp up or step back from its c-store arm. Casey’s General Stores, the third-largest c-store in the U.S., has also made clear it’s looking to grow via M&A.
Below is a roundup of the top c-store M&A stories from the first quarter.