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Marathon Petroleum to Jettison Gas Stations

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The spinoff of its chain is part of a general shakeup at the company.

FINDLAY, Ohio October 30, 2019; Marathon Petroleum Corp. will shed its gas stations and potentially reconfigure its top executives as part of a sweeping house cleaning, the Wall Street Journal reports. Activist shareholders, such as Elliott Management Corp., have demanded action ahead of its earnings report this week.

Marathon’s board will spin off its owned and operated convenience store chain of about 4,000 locations, mostly under the Speedway brand. The company also supplies fuel for other stations. Elliott wants the company to segregate its business into a separate pipeline operation, refining business and convenience store chain.

Soaring U.S. production of crude oil has made refiners fortunes brighter, which could be fueling the push by Elliott, the Wall Street Journal said. However, caution is warranted, as the upcoming earnings report could mean a pull back on all or some of these moves.