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TA shareholders overwhelmingly approve sale of company to BP

Only the formal closing remains in BP’s acquisition of TravelCenters of America, with shareholders overwhelmingly approving the purchase in voting results released Wednesday.

There was no sign of a late move by convenience store operator Arko to derail the BP purchase of TA (NASDAQ: TA) at $86 per share, which was announced in February. Arko had offered $92 per share, but TA rejected the bid on several grounds, including issues raised by the landlord for TA’s travel centers about Arko’s public debt rating.

In a statement Wednesday, TA said more than 72% of shareholders had voted in the special shareholder election. Of those, 93% favored the deal.

Arko (NASDAQ: ARKO) had signaled it was not mounting a last-minute attempt to block the TA/BP deal in its quarterly earnings report released last week. The signal was one of omission: It said nothing about its bid for TA.

Arko’s earnings release said it had closed the acquisition of Transit Energy Group, which added 135 convenience stories, and was on track to close the purchase of WTG Fuels Holdings in the second quarter. 

Arko also reviewed its firepower for making deals, noting it had more than $2 billion available for that purpose. But it did not mention TA.

BP’s (NYSE: BP) acquisition of TA is expected to close Monday.

The $1.3 billion BP paid for TA represents about 23 to 24 days of the profits generated by BP in the first quarter, which totaled $5 billion.

BP has produced a five-point plan for the future with a quintet of core activities: bioenergy, electric vehicle charging, convenience, renewables and power, and hydrogen capture and storage.

Encompassing 281 locations in 44 states, the TA acquisition can be seen as a boost to several of those goals. It clearly adds to the convenience goal, and electric vehicle charging can also be introduced at the TA outlets. Ultimately, if hydrogen becomes a widely used transportation fuel, hydrogen storage and distribution can operate from the TA centers.

According to an article last year in Convenience Store News, about 95% of BP-branded convenience stores are owned by independent marketers, not the oil giant, which instead contracts with the independent owner to supply fuel and brand the station under its green colors.

But BP waded back into outright ownership of convenience store outlets in 2021 with the acquisition of Thorntons for an undisclosed price, and it now is about to take possession of TA.

TA is believed to be the third-biggest truck and travel center operator in the U.S. behind Pilot Flying J and Love’s Travel Centers. The latter is privately owned; Pilot is 80% owned by Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A).

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