Mergers & Acquisitions

Deal Signals More U.S. Growth for Applegreen

Dublin-based international retailer’s founders taking company private
Photograph courtesy of Applegreen

DUBLIN — Applegreen plc, a Dublin-based gas station and convenience-store operator with a presence in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, has filed an agreement to be taken private by Causeway Consortium Ltd., made up of its founders and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, in a deal that values the retailer at approximately $877.7 million.

B&J Holdings Ltd., owned by Applegreen founder and CEO Robert Etchingham and founder and COO Joseph Barrett, holds approximately 41.3% of Applegreen. B&J Holdings and

As of June 2020, Applegreen has 203 sites in Ireland and 164 sites in the United Kingdom, as well as 191 sites in the United States, for a total of 558 locations. Its U.S. sites are concentrated in the North and Southeast and operate under the Shell, Exxon, Mobil, Sunoco, BP and Chevron fuel brands. Along with its own foodservice offer, it partners with Burger King, Subway, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Pizza Hut and Mama DeLuca’s Pizza.

In 2019, Applegreen acquired a leasehold interest in 46 gas stations with c-stores in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from CrossAmerica Partners LP, Allentown, Pa. Also in 2019, it acquired a 40% stake in CT Service Plazas, consisting of 23 on-highway facilities in Connecticut. Applegreen entered the U.S. market in 2014, expanded its small foothold in 2016 and in 2017 acquired The Brandi Group, which operated the 42-unit Pitt Stop convenience-store chain based in Columbia, S.C.

“Over the last 28 years Applegreen has gone through many changes to become a major roadside retail business,” said Etchingham. “This growth is a testament to the employees and the strong culture within Applegreen that have enabled us to identify and pursue attractive investment opportunities. … We believe private ownership is the appropriate structure for this transition and that in Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, with its long-term focus and its significant ability to accelerate our growth, we have found the right partner for the next stage of the Applegreen journey.”

The company intends to focus on capital-intensive highway projects and building electric vehicle-charging infrastructure, he said.

“Over recent years, Applegreen has expanded operations to develop an enviable position as a leading roadside convenience retailer across Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S., combining a unique customer proposition with an effective business model to increase resilient non-fuel revenues,” said Daniel Kitchen, chairman of Applegreen. “The business has significant scope to further expand its footprint, which we believe will be best achieved in the private arena where the Group can benefit from the experience and capital of Blackstone as its partner, whilst maintaining the management and wider team which have driven the business forward.”

Sebastien Sherman, senior managing director of Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, said,

“We are honored to partner with Applegreen's visionary founders, Bob Etchingham and Joe Barrett, to continue to build Applegreen's industry-leading portfolio of roadside retail outlets in Europe and the United States. We look forward to supporting Applegreen as its team continues to innovate and expand internationally.”

The deal has been approved by the Applegreen board and await approval by shareholders. It is also subject to Irish takeover rules and conditions.

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