ACON and TPG seal 9x energy exit

 The firms have sold Minnesota-based downstream energy company Northern Tier Energy, which they formed in 2010, for $775m.

ACON Investments and TPG have sold their remaining stake in Northern Tier Energy to Western Refining for $775 million, according to a statement.

A return multiple for the exit was not disclosed, but a source with knowledge of the situation said each firm generated a return of 9x their original investment after a number of a partial exits. Northern Tier operates a refinery in Minnesota and owns 163 convenience stores and 74 franchised convenience stores mostly in Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the statement.

ACON and TPG formed Northern Tier in 2010 after investing a combined $200 million in various downstream assets of Marathon Oil, including the St. Paul Park Refinery, and have generated total proceeds since then of $1.8 billion. The firms partially exited Northern Tier via an initial public offering in July 2012 that raised $262 million.

Prior to Tuesday’s exit, the firm’s owned between 30 percent and 40 percent of the company. Western Refining, a refining and marketing company, is now the largest investor in Northern Tier, owning about 38 percent of the company’s shares. The remaining shares remain publicly traded.

Barclays and JP Morgan Securities acted as financial advisors to TPG and ACON.

TPG’s other investments in the natural resources industry include Chesapeake Resources and Maverick American Natural Gas. Northern Tier was the firm’s sole investment in the downstream energy sector.

TPG is currently fundraising for its seventh buyout fund, which is targeting $12 billion, according to Private Equity International’s Research and Analytics division.

ACON’s investments in upstream and midstream oil and gas and energy services include Mariner Energy and Sequitur Energy Resources. ACON closed its ACON Equity Partners III on about $751 million in May.