The $7.6bn fuel refiner and distributor Ampol is entering the competition to buy $2bn convenience retailer 7-Eleven, as the sales process ramps up.

Ampol has previously faced opposition from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission over a deal to buy Mobil sites about a decade ago.

Most of the major private equity firms aside from Brookfield are expected to take a look at 7-Eleven.

But a strategic player is considered more likely.

Ampol’s balance sheet in good shape: its net debt is $2.9bn against a $7.6bn market value.

This means it’s ready for more deals, and it has won the trust of the market with the success of its $NZ2bn Z Energy purchase.

Some also consider it underweight in fuel convenience and say the ACCC will not be a major obstacle this time.

Ampol is known to be close to Macquarie Capital.

Some think a better target for Ampol would be the EG business in Australia, because 7-Eleven locked in a 15-year fuel supply deal with Chevron last year.

Speculation was mounting in 2021 that global petrol station and fast-food outlet owner EG was considering an initial public offering of its $1.7bn Australian unit on the ASX, so a sale isn’t out of the question.

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