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    Gas Mart USA in Acquisition Talks with Harper Oil

    CEO confirms a deal is on the horizon.

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- CSNews Online has learned that Gas Mart USA, operator of more than 40 convenience stores headquartered here, is in negotiations to buy an undisclosed number of convenience stores from Harper Oil, operator of 26 "On the Way" c-stores based in Springfield, Ill.

    "Right now we're in negotiations," Gas Mart USA CEO David George told CSNews Online. "Nothing is finalized as of yet."

    While George said he could not discuss specifics of the pending deal with Harper Oil, he noted that the two companies are "pretty close" to reaching an agreement.

    This is not the first time that Harper Oil has been the subject of a sale. In June 2007, Mansfield, Ohio-based EZ Energy made agreements to purchase the Harper Oil chain, which were later cancelled by EZ Energy in October of that year. Published reports at the time stated the $24 million deal was due to a disagreement over the implementation, with EZ Energy claiming that
    Harper Oil failed to meet the contract terms, while Harper argued that EZ Energy breached the contract.

    Harper Oil CEO Chris Sommer was not available for comment as of presstime.

    The pending deal with Harper Oil is inline with Gas Mart USA's business model to both develop and acquire available and economically viable convenience stores. In early 2004, the company acquired 28 sites located in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana from ConocoPhillips. Two years later, the company expanded its reach by acquiring seven stores in Iowa and Nebraska.

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