RICHMOND, Va. -- GPM Investments LLC wrapped up 2017 with its largest acquisition of the year when it signed an agreement Dec. 27 to acquire 273 convenience stores from E-Z Mart Stores Inc., as reported in a CSP Daily News Flash.
The acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, extends GPM's reach into the South and farther west than before into Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.
"We have enjoyed serving our existing customers and are thrilled to begin serving customers in these new states as well,” said GPM President and CEO Arie Kotler. “We look forward to our expansion as we make these locations a new part of the GPM family.”
Texarkana, Texas-based E-Z Mart is a well-regarded chain of c-stores established in 1970 when its first unit was opened by founders Jim and FaEllen Yates in Nashville, Ark.
"From those humble beginnings, and with a lot of hard work and dedication by generations of E-Z Mart associates, our company has become one of the leading privately owned convenience-store chains in the U.S.,” said E-Z Mart CEO Sonja Yates Hubbard. “The significant investment in our store portfolio over the last decade has changed both our look and profitability while also advancing the quality of service we provide our customers.
"Endeavoring to escalate that rate of improvement and ensuring growth opportunities for our brand and team, we are excited that the combining of the E-Z Mart brand with GPM will exponentially accelerate that growth and preserve Jim Yates’ legacy."
Chris Giacobone, GPM's chief operating officer, welcomed E-Z Mart's employees to the new, extended team.
"The E-Z Mart store employees have long served customers with dedication and enthusiasm. We are eager to remain on the same path of service with passion and commitment,” he said. “Bringing the E-Z Mart employees into the GPM family was very important to our leadership team, and we look forward to our continued growth with these new stores.”
GPM Investments, based in Richmond, Va., operates or supplies fuel to more than 1,100 c-stores in 18 states. The chain ranked No. 6 in a year-end update of CSP’s 2017 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States. E-Z Mart ranked No. 29. Once the E-Z Mart deal is closed, GPM will operate and supply more than 1,400 sites in 22 states.
GPM, an aggressive c-store acquirer, reported only two other c-store acquisition deals in 2017. In July, GPM took ownership of seven Jiffy Stop Food Marts in Missouri, and in April, the company added 92 Roadrunner c-stores in four states to its portfolio through the acquisition of Mountain Empire Oil Co. It also bought a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee in May, adding seven of the quick-service restaurant units to its ownership rolls in Tennessee and Virginia.
BofA Merrill Lynch acted as exclusive financial adviser and Chamberlain Hrdlicka acted as legal counsel to E-Z Mart in connection with the transaction. Raymond James acted as exclusive financial adviser to GPM in connection with the transaction.