Long Island's ubiquitous Hess gasoline stations will become Speedway outlets over the next three years, under an agreement announced Thursday for Marathon Petroleum Corp. to purchase the familiar green and white retail stores.
However, the popular Hess toy trucks will continue to be produced under the Hess name, sold this year at gas stations and later online only. And a spokeswoman for Marathon said Speedway, like Hess, charges the same price per gallon for credit or cash purchases.
The $2.87 billion purchase -- technically by Marathon's Speedway LLC unit -- is expected to close in late summer. It will combine Hess' 1,256 company-owned stations and another 86 that are independently owned in 16 states into the Speedway chain of 1,480 company-owned stores in nine states, said Marathon, which is based in Findlay, Ohio.
Hess stations are concentrated along the East Coast. Speedways are largely in the Midwest and the two chains overlap in only two states -- Tennessee and Pennsylvania. The combined operation will operate in 23 states.
Hess Corp., based in Manhattan, announced months ago it planned to sell its retail outlets to focus on producing oil and natural gas. "The sale of our retail business marks the culmination of our strategic transformation into a pure-play exploration and production company," chief executive John Hess, son of the company's founder, said in a statement Thursday.
Hess-branded stations will disappear over the next three years, Marathon Petroleum chief executive Gary Heminger said on a conference call with analysts.
Hess is one of several energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil, that have divested retail stations as they separate so-called downstream operations from oil and gas production in response to investor calls for more focused corporate structures.
Hess is the largest operator of convenience stores along the East Coast and the fifth largest in the United States by number of company-operated sites. Speedway is the nation's fourth-largest convenience store chain by number of company-owned and -operated sites.