FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Divestitures of Retail Fuel Stations and Convenience Stores Related to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s Merger with Competitor CST Brands, Inc.
Order preserves competition in 71 local markets for retail sales of gasoline or diesel
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order resolving charges that Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s $4.4 billion acquisition of CST Brands, Inc. would violate federal antitrust laws. The order requires ACT to divest retail fuel stations with convenience stores in 71 local markets to Empire Petroleum Partners.
Under the order, ACT is required to divest certain CST fuel stations in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas to Empire, and to give Empire the option of acquiring an additional ACT-owned location in Georgia.
As announced in June 2017, the complaint alleges that without the divestiture the merger would allow the combined entity to raise prices unilaterally in markets in which CST is ACT’s only or closest competitor, and would increase the likelihood of coordinated effects in markets in which three or two competitors would remain. Absent a remedy, the merger would result in a monopoly in 10 of the 71 local markets, and reduce the number of competitors from three to two in the rest of the affected local markets.
The Commission vote approving the final order was 2-0. (FTC File No. 161 0207; the staff contact is Nicholas Bush, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2848.)