Daily News: March 2, 2012

Matrix Announces Sale of High’s to Carroll Independent Fuel Company


Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc. announced the successful sale of Hanover, MD-based High’s of Baltimore, Inc., (t/a High’s Dairy Stores) to The Carroll Independent Fuel Company. High’s directly operates 46 retail convenience stores and gas stations located in highly populated areas throughout Maryland, primarily serving customers in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD suburbs.

For over 60 years, High’s has been a petroleum marketing and convenience store operator in the region. The company is highly regarded for providing value to customers through friendly service, quality product offerings, and ultimate convenience due to highly accessible, superior locations. The company’s stores offer Shell and CITGO branded fuels, a wide assortment of convenience merchandise, and freshly prepared coffee and food.

Founded in 1907, Carroll is one of the largest petroleum marketing companies in the U.S., distributing fuels to retail and commercial customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The acquisition of High’s by Carroll initiates its entry into the company-operated channel of trade. Carroll will retain the majority of High’s executive management team and store personnel.

Brian Darnell, principal and VP of Real Estate of High’s, commented on the transaction, “We are absolutely thrilled to be aligning with such a high-quality marketer in Carroll. The acquisition by Carroll will ensure the continuance of a well-recognized brand and the accelerated growth of the High’s name within our market area.” John Phelps, president of Carroll, commented, “Brian Darnell will be leading the organization as president of High’s of Baltimore LLC. Ben Jatlow will serve as VP of Retail Operations and Briana Darnell will serve as VP of Real Estate and Development.”

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to High’s, which included valuation advisory, transaction structuring, marketing and negotiating. The transaction was managed by Tom Kelso, managing director and head of the Energy and Multi-Site Retail Group; Spencer Cavalier, director; and Sean Dooley, senior analyst.

Spencer Cavalier commented, “The acquisition of High’s by Carroll is essentially the merger of two leading and very successful family owned and operated petroleum marketing and convenience store companies. Bolstered by the Carroll’s fuels marketing and logistics platform, the highly respected and recognized High’s brand will continue to grow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Matrix has been honored to have had an advisory relationship with High’s shareholders since 2003, which has culminated in this successful transaction.”

Jay Ghingher, Jacqueline Allen and Jim Goodrich of Saul Ewing, LLP served as legal counsel for High’s, and Michael Jennings of Ober Kaler served as legal counsel for Carroll.

Matrix’s Energy and Multi-Site Retail Group provides transactional advisory services to companies in the downstream energy and multi-site retail sectors.