Mergers & Acquisitions

‘Friendly Competitors’ Combine

Acquisition of U-Gas, Dirt Cheap a ‘milestone’ for Wallis Cos.

CUBA, Mo. -- Wallis Cos. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of U-Gas Holdings Inc., including 19 U-Gas and 14 Dirt Cheap convenience stores along with the Gigi’s Commissary.

Wallis Cos. began in 1968 in Cuba, Mo., with one location on Route 66 and now operates a network of 34 convenience stores and supplies 167 dealer locations.

U-Gas was founded in 1977 in Fenton, Mo. Over the years, the company created multiple retail gasoline and convenience-store brands, including U-Gas and Dirt Cheap. It also is one of about a half-dozen c-store chains that have joined Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), committing to provide healthier food and snack choices to customers.

“This is a major milestone in Wallis Cos.’ 48-year history. We look forward to a future built on core values of taking care of our customers, treating employees and suppliers with respect and offering quality food and service,” said Lynn Wallis, president and CEO of Wallis Cos.

Both companies matured together and, as reported in a McLane/CSP Daily News Flash, were always "friendly competitors," they said.

“Our families have grown up in this industry together. We became a customer of the Gigi’s Commissary in 2014, and Craig and I have served on [the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association] board for many years. This is just another fitting chapter in the legacy of our companies,” said Rachel Wallis Andreasson, executive vice president of Wallis Cos.

"While the decision to sell was a difficult one, we know that the Wallis family has a great passion for the industry and both organizations share the same values, purpose and commitment to service," said Craig Taylor, president and CEO of U-Gas and Dirt Cheap. "We sincerely thank all of our wonderful customers we had the pleasure of serving throughout our years in business, but it was our associates who were the engine and backbone of our companies. To them we extend our deepest thanks and appreciation for all their hard work and dedication."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, but both parties currently expect it will close in September.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James served as exclusive financial adviser to U-Gas in connection with the transaction.

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