Order preserves competition in local fuel markets in Nebraska and Iowa
Casey’s General Stores, Inc., Buck’s Intermediate Holdings, LLC, and Steven Buchanan, have agreed to divest retail fuel assets in local gasoline and diesel fuel markets across two states to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that Casey’s proposed acquisition would violate federal antitrust law.
Headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, Casey’s operates retail fuel outlets and convenience stores in 16 Midwestern states, primarily Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Buck’s Intermediate Holdings, LLC, or Bucky’s, is a family-owned chain of fuel outlets and convenience stores headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
According to the complaint, markets for retail gasoline and retail diesel fuel are highly localized, and no economic or practical alternative to the retail sale of gasoline or diesel fuel exists. The complaint alleges that the acquisition as proposed would harm competition for retail sale of gasoline in seven local markets in Nebraska and Iowa. In four of these local markets, competition for the retail sale of diesel fuel would also be harmed. The complaint alleges that without a remedy, the acquisition would reduce the number of competitors to three or fewer in these seven local markets.
Under the terms of the proposed consent order, Casey’s is required to divest six retail fuel outlets, three Casey’s outlets and three Bucky’s outlets, to Western Oil II, LLC and its affiliate Danco II, LLC within 10 days after Casey’s completes the acquisition. (One of the Casey’s outlets, store 2886, serves two of the seven local markets.) Western Oil is an experienced operator or supplier of retail fuel sites and will be a new entrant into the local markets.
In addition to requiring outlet divestitures, the proposed order requires Casey’s and Bucky’s to provide the Commission notice before acquiring retail fuel assets within a fixed distance of any Casey’s outlet in a market involving a divestiture for ten years. Further details about the consent order, which includes an asset maintenance order and allows the Commission to appoint a monitor to oversee the parties’ compliance, are set forth in the analysis to aid public comment for this matter.
The Commission vote to issue the complaint and accept the proposed consent order for public comment was 4-0. The FTC will publish the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. Instructions for filing comments appear in the published notice. Comments must be received 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Once processed, comments will be posted on Regulations.gov.
NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $43,792.