Alliance Likes Mr. Mike's

Peterborough Oil goes out on a high note with sale to New England company

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

BRANFORD, Conn. -- Alliance Energy Corp., a New England petroleum marketing and convenience store operator, has purchased 68 c-store and dealer assets owned by Peterborough Oil Co. Inc., owner and operator of retail petroleum marketing outlets and c-stores branded as Mr. Mike 's. As reported yesterday in a CSP Daily News Flash, the stores are located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

Andrew Slifka, president of Alliance Energy, told CSP Daily News, "Our plans are to keep those sites operating as they are, hopefully to improve with our strategy. Although we feel we bought an incredibly [image-nocss] well-run company, we're going to tweak it a little bit. They will stay branded Mr. Mikes. We love their c-store image."

Leominster, Mass.-based Peterborough Oil directly operated 29 units and supplied motor fuels to 10 commissioned agents and 29 open dealers. Fee simple real-estate interests were conveyed for 34 units.

Peterborough Oil said it is exiting the petroleum marketing and c-store industry. In the fall of 2007, Richmond, Va.-based Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. began marketing the assets for Peterborough Oil through a structured sale process.

Tom Kelso, managing director and head of Matrix 's Energy & Multi-Site Retail Group, cited "family transition issues" as the reason for the decision to get out of the business. "The seller's shareholders are reaching the point where retirement is a real issue, so they were looking for liquidity options for their holdings," he told CSP Daily News. A sale seemed to be the best way for them to transition the company to new ownership and for them to take their financial investment off the table and reinvest it some other place. There were three selling shareholder groups, and they thought this was the best time."

Joseph Hart, president of Peterborough said in a statement, “We were extremely pleased with the guidance Matrix provided us in evaluating our assets and exit strategy.”

Echoing Slifka, Kelso added, "Peterborough is an extremely healthy company, and these are extremely healthy assets."

Slifka said, "We look at every available acquisition in the Northeast. We've looked at many; we've passed on bidding on many. We bid aggressively for Peterborough, knowing that they ran incredibly great sites."

Alliance Energy, based in Branford, Conn., distributes motor fuels in seven states from Maine to Pennsylvania. It currently operates more than 150 retail sites; its total supply of more than 400 million gallons of fuel annually goes to about 565 locations. Fuel brands include Shell, Mobil, Exxon, Gulf, Getty and CITGO, as well as the licensed Global proprietary brand. The c-stores at these locations include Fast Freddies and Mobil On the Run, among other identities.