CONVENIENCE store operator 7-Eleven Stores says it will become the largest independent fuel retailer in Australia after confirming the purchase of 295 petrol stations from Mobil Oil Australia.
7-Eleven said it had entered into a binding agreement with Mobil to buy the petrol stations, located primarily in the metropolitan areas of eastern Australia.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told news.com.au they would be investigating the acquisition.
It is unclear at this stage whether the move by 7-Eleven will mean for petrol prices.
"We hope that the ACCC investigation will ensure that this acquisition result competition in the market and not less," NRMA Motoring and Service spokesman, Peter Khoury, said.
"The last thing Australian motorists need is a petrol industry with less competition."
Late last year, the ACCC blocked Caltex's attempt to acquire the chain, saying the $302 million deal would have hurt competition.
7-Eleven said the transaction was not subject to ACCC clearance.
The acquisition will create a merged entity with projected sales or more than $2.84 billion serving more than 160 million transactions each year, 7-Eleven said.
Russell Withers, the chairman of 7-Eleven Stores, a family-owned business, said the deal would increase its stores from 400 to more than 650.
The company's chief executive, Warren Wilmot, said most of the Mobil stores would be converted by the end of 2011, with sites being "significantly upgraded".
"The acquired sites are well-positioned with strong fuel and food store volume, bringing excellent synergies with 7-Eleven's current operations," Mr Wilmot said.
"In the short term, very little will change for employees, as we recognise that both companies have significant employee talent we wish to harness."
Mobil will continue to supply petrol
7-Eleven has struck a deal with Mobil to continue to supply the sites with fuel.
The deal also includes about 30 stores in South Australia, where 7-Eleven does not currently operate.
"7-Eleven believes that competition concerns are unlikely, however we fully expect the ACCC to conduct a market review," 7-Eleven said.
Mobil fuels director Kim MacMillan said the company was pleased to have reached agreement with 7-Eleven.
"The Australian retail fuels market is highly competitive and challenging," Ms MacMillan said.
"Mobil is now a relatively small participant in that sector of the market following the extensive rationalisation of its company-owned service station network over the last few years."