7-Eleven Doubles

7-Eleven is preparing to double the number of stores it operates in North America, focusing on increasing its presence within large cities, Bloomberg reported this week. The convenience store chain, which has its U.S. headquarters in Dallas, could increase its store count in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico from about 10,000 to somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 locations in the next few years. That would push 7-Eleven’s tally ahead of Starbucks, which operates about 13,000 North American stores. 

7-Eleven’s Tokyo-based parent, Seven & I Holdings Corp., adopted the rapid-expansion strategy in response to “strength in consumer spending and business investment” as the U.S. economy continues to rebound, according to Bloomberg. Last year the company “built, converted, or acquired” more than 960 stores in the U.S.

The Bottom Line: 7-Eleven is focusing its efforts on more than twenty large American cities, including Dallas, San Antonio, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and others. The new stores will be located in high-density areas frequented by the 18-34 crowd, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

Hulu Hoopla

AT&T may be seeking a partner to acquire the streaming video website Hulu, the tech blog All Things Digital reported this week. Hulu’s owners—News Corp., Disney and Comcast—have been exploring the possibility of a sale in recent months, attracting suitors including Yahoo, DirecTV, Time Warner, and a handful of investment firms.

According to ATD, Dallas-based AT&T is currently “in discussions with the Chernin Group about mounting a joint bid” that could build on Chernin’s initial offer, which was “in the lower $500 million range.” However, the blog’s sources report that Hulu may not be receptive to any deals under the $1 billion mark.

The Bottom Line: Even at that level, the sale would be well under the $2 billion price tag Hulu sought when it first solicited bidders in 2011. However, Disney and News Corp. may now be more eager to “exit the business, which they see as strategically misaligned with their own interests,” Variety reports. 

Icahn’t Get No Satisfaction

Dell is pushing back against a buyout bid from investor Carl Icahn, spelling out its objections at a special committee meeting on Wednesday. The Round Rock-based company’s presentation indicated that the plan proposed by Icahn and the Southeastern Asset Management investment group is “almost $4 billion short of the cash needed to fund his proposal for a $12-per-share special dividend,” Reuters reports.

The Bottom Line: CEO Michael Dell and his partner equity firm Silver Lake are standing by their own $24.4 billion offer for the buyout. If that proposal moves forward, Icahn’s group of investors—which collectively owns about twelve percent of the company—could “seek to nominate an alternate slate of twelve directors to challenge the current board and take control of the company,” according to Reuters. 

Winner of the Week: First Choice Emergency Room

Be kind: please revive. A Flower Mound–based healthcare provider has found a new use for vacant Blockbuster video stores: turning them into 24-hour emergency clinics. First Choice Emergency Room—a private company in the midst of a $100 million expansion plan—“is helping to fill a much-needed niche between hospitals and urgent care providers,” the Dallas Business Journal reports. The old Fort Worth Blockbuster store will be among the 80 to 100 locations First Choice hopes to operate by 2017. 

Loser of the Week: Omega Protein Inc.

A federal judge this week ordered Houston-based Omega Protein to pay $7.5 million in penalties “for discharging fish waste and pollutants into Chesapeake Bay waters,” Businessweek reports. The company harvests a fish called menhaden, which is used to produce fish oil supplements and animal feed. Environmental officials accused Omega of endangering the bay’s marine life by illegally disposing of oily byproducts from its processing plant in Reedville, Virginia, from 2008 to 2010.