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04/12/2022

C-store Industry Sees a Medley of M&A Activity

Convenience and fuel assets across the Southeast change hands in multiple deals.
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Blocks that spell M&A

CHICAGO — Unlike years past, the first four months of 2022 have not brought any headline grabbing merger-and-acquisition (M&A) transactions. That does not mean the channel has been quiet, however.

As March came to a close, Jones County, Miss.-based Laurel Oil LLC d/b/a Rapid Express, sold its convenience store and Shell-branded distribution assets to Clark Oil Co. Inc. of Waynesboro, Miss.

With history dating back to 1923, Laurel Oil has been known as a marketer of Shell and unbranded petroleum products. Its retail operations offer a mix of c-store staples and curated gift shop merchandise that caters to the local market.

Laurel Oil also serves local government agencies and other commercial accounts at retail locations through its proprietary fuel card offering, according to Corner Capital Advisors LLC.

"Over the course of our long and successful history, we've made many friends and positive contributions to our communities. We believe Clark Oil values the relationships we've built over 99 years and four generations in the business and will continue Laurel Oil's long-standing tradition of excellent community service," said Tom Saucier, president of Laurel Oil Supply and member of Laurel Oil LLC.

Clark Oil, a family-owned petroleum marketer and convenience retailer, distributes branded petroleum products to more than 150 c-stores in the southern Mississippi and southern Alabama areas. Clark Oil operates more than one-third of the locations under its proprietary Clark's store brand.

Corner Capital Advisors provided M&A advisory services to Laurel Oil. The transaction was managed by Rob Thomas and Sean Stewart. Steve Wilson and Michael Noble from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP served as legal counsel for Laurel Oil.

Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA) also recently wrapped up some M&A activity. Earlier this month, the completed the acquisition of two travel centers for $45 million. The Petro Raphine and TA Lexington travel centers, located along the Interstate 81 corridor in Virginia, have been TA franchise locations since 2011.

The Petro Raphine site is currently under renovation to add 170 new truck parking spaces and expand existing retail space. Following the renovation, which is anticipated to be completed this summer, Petro Raphine is expected to be one of the nation's largest travel centers based on its nearly 900 truck parking spaces, according to the company.

"Investing in growth through the addition of company-owned sites is one of our key priorities for capital deployment this year," said CEO Jonathan Pertchik. "Located along a busy and strategic highway corridor which serves professional truck drivers, four-wheel travelers and the local communities, we expect these sites to exceed our minimum return thresholds. With the size and breadth of offerings at Petro Raphine, we are adding a flagship location to our company-owned sites and will also benefit from the experienced managers at these locations joining our company."

Other c-stores are also changing hands. Vernon, Ala.-based Midstates Petroleum Co. picked up a location from MAPCO in Northport, Ala. According to the Patch.com, Midstates Petroleum confirmed it will rebrand the location when MAPCO finishes out its lease.

Midstates Petroleum spokesperson Ric Mayers also said the company secured deals for four MAPCO locations — three in Tuscaloosa.

As Convenience Store News reported in February, divestments are part of Franklin, Tenn.-based MAPCO's 2022 strategy.

On the Market

In addition to completed deals, a convenience store/gas station in San Jose, Calif., hit the market. NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC has been retained as the exclusive real estate broker by the order of the Superior Court of the State of California for the sale of Moe's Stop service station in San Jose.

The site has a 1,309-square-foot building with a two-bay smog check on a 17,550-sqaure-foot site. The building was built in 2008 with a small inside sales area. Moe's averaged more than 400,000 gas gallons sales a month in 2021. Fuel is unbranded, according to NRC.  

"The property is very well located near Cambrian Park Plaza proposed redevelopment site which is a 'signature' San Jose project which will have 305 apartments, 48 single-family homes with 27  attached accessory dwelling units and 25 townhomes," said NRC's Evan Gladstone. "The development will also include a 229-room hotel, a senior living center and four acres of open space. The current shopping plaza has a BevMo Beverages & More, Round Table Pizza, Togo's, Bank of the West, and The Dollar Store as well as a dozen of other neighborhood tenants."