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Merger Matchmaking: Marathon Petroleum & CST?

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — There's a matchmaker in the convenience store industry and his name is Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money."

Although Enon, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s Speedway LLC division just recently completed its $2.87-billion acquisition of Hess Corp.'s retail division and picked up more than 1,200 stores on the eastern seaboard, the well-known television host believes the company can absorb another large acquisition: CST Brands Inc.

Cramer believes San Antonio-based CST Brands, parent to the Corner Store chain of convenience stores, would be a tremendous fit that would complement Marathon Petroleum's existing business well. If the deal were consummated, Speedway would operate approximately 4,600 convenience stores and gas stations in the United States and Canada.

"Just like with Hess, there wouldn't be a lot of overlap, as most of CST's locations are in the Southwest, with 60 percent of its stores in Texas," Cramer reasoned. "At the same time, CST would be able to soak up more of Marathon Petroleum's gasoline production."

If Marathon Petroleum would rather not bite on a CST deal so quickly after completing the Hess deal, Cramer believes Energy Transfer Partners LP or its sister company Sunoco LP would also be a great fit for a merger with CST Brands.

Sunoco LP is the former Susser Petroleum Partners LP. Energy Transfer Partners is expected to dropdown its entire retail division to Sunoco LP in the future. Once this takes place, Sunoco LP will have Sunoco Inc., Stripes LLC, Tiger Mart, Sac-N-Pac and the yet-to-be completed acquisition of Aloha Petroleum Ltd. under its umbrella.

Cramer predicts an acquirer would be willing to pay up to $4.8 billion for CST at enterprise value, a more than 20-percent premium to the company's current stock price.

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