ConocoPhillips said Monday that it has sold its Circle K retail operations and will move marketing for its Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76 gas stations to Houston, leaving about 1,000 Tempe jobs in limbo.
Circle K buyer Montreal-based Alimentation Couche-Tard is expected to hire most of the 17,400 Circle K employees, said ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Laura Hopkins. Most of those employees work in the 1,663 Circle K convenience stores, she said. Hopkins did not know what will happen with the retail operations center in Tempe, which handled marketing and operations for Circle K, Phillips and Conoco brand stores.
A Couche-Tard U.S. spokesman could not say whether the company would retain the Tempe operation, since those decisions will be made in the company’s Montreal headquarters. Canadian company officials could not be reached for comment early Monday.
The Canadian company, the seventh-largest convenience retailer in North America, paid $830 million for the company-owned convenience stores, Circle K brand ownership and the franchise relationship with more than 350 franchised and licensed stores.
The transaction is contingent on government approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Couche-Tard, which loosely translates from the French as "night owl," already operates stores in the U.S. under the Mac's, Handy Andy and Dairy Mart banners.