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7-Eleven to Buy 183 Exxon Mobil Properties to Expand in Florida

7-Eleven Inc., the world’s largest convenience-store chain, will buy 183 Florida properties from Exxon Mobil Corp. as it accelerates North American acquisitions.

The cash transaction comprises 169 stores in markets including Orlando and Palm Beach, five parcels of land and contracts to supply gasoline to nine service stations owned by dealers, Sean Duffy, 7-Eleven’s vice president of mergers and acquisitions, said today in a telephone interview. The companies declined to disclose the purchase price.

Closely held 7-Eleven, the Dallas-based unit of Japan’s Seven & I Holdings Co., is considering another nine transactions, with the number of stores ranging from fewer than 10 to as many as 200, Duffy said. The U.S. retailer has added about 750 stores since 2007 and will bring its total to almost 800 in Florida with the Exxon acquisition, he said.

“There’s a great opportunity in the industry now that goes with our aggressive approach to mergers and acquisitions,” Duffy, 45, said. “We have access to a lot of capital and lending rates are extremely favorable now. Our debt is close to being extinguished.”

Duffy declined to disclose 7-Eleven’s debt or potential acquisition targets. A lack of credit to some small- and medium-size companies is impeding their efforts to borrow and refinance debt, forcing them to consider selling stores, he said.

Switching Signs, Displays

Exxon, based in Irving, Texas, and the largest U.S. oil company, started divesting its domestic retail outlets in 2008 to focus on higher-profit businesses.

7-Eleven plans to spend $250,000 to $500,000 a store to remodel the Exxon locations in Florida during the next two years, Duffy said. Most will be switched to 7-Eleven signs and interior displays, taking advantage of the company’s marketing and distribution for its 610 Florida stores, he said. All will keep selling Mobil gasoline and let customers use the ExxonMobil credit card.

The convenience chain ended discussions to buy Casey’s General Stores Inc. on Nov. 3 after failing to agree on terms. 7-Eleven offered $2.1 billion including net debt, or $43 a share, for the Ankeny, Iowa-based company, which rejected a deal with Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., a Laval, Quebec-based convenience-store chain, earlier this year.

With the Florida acquisition, 7-Eleven will operate, franchise or license almost 8,500 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, said Margaret Chabris, a company spokeswoman. It operates about 39,500 stores in 16 countries, generating worldwide revenue of $58.9 billion in 2009.

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