Daily News: March 23, 2015

Matrix Closes on Best Oil Sale

Matrix Capital Markets announces the successful closing on the sale of the 19 Little Stores brand c-stores of Best Oil Company to TravelCenters of America and the sale of Best Oil’s wholesale fuel supply business and transportation division to NuWay Cooperative, a Minnesota Cooperative based in Trimont, MN.

Best Oil Company directly operated all 19 Little Stores prior to the sale. Eighteen of the sites were owned fee simple with 1 site being a leasehold. The stores are located in Northeastern Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin and offer high quality fuels, as well as a full range of convenience items to their customers. Best Oil Company’s wholesale fuel supply business consists of annual sales of over 27 million gallons serving approximately 110 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The transportation division has eight tractors and eight trailers that deliver fuel to Best Oil’s company operated stores and wholesale customers.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Best Oil Company, which included valuation advisory, marketing of the Company through a customized, confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the transaction. The transaction was co-managed by Thomas Kelso, managing director and head of the downstream energy & retail team and John Underwood, director. Stephen Lynch, associate also advised on the transaction.

John McKinney, president of Best Oil, said, “Matrix has helped Best Oil management review its strategic options since 2008. When the decision was made to sell we chose Matrix for their extensive industry expertise and professionalism. The Matrix team did a great job of leading the sales process and maximizing the value of the Little Store division, the wholesale supply operations, and the transportation division. They helped guide Best Oil management through the sale process, worked with Best Oil’s legal counsel to negotiate the transaction and helped manage the due diligence and closing process. We greatly appreciate the job the Matrix team did.”

Underwood commented, “It was a real pleasure to work with the McKinney family and the Best Oil leadership team. Through our work with Best Oil over the past several years we knew this was a unique opportunity for prospective buyers to acquire a high quality convenience store chain, a wholesale fuel supply business and high quality transportation assets. We know how difficult it is to a sell a family business and it was a very positive experience working with the Best Oil team through the entire sale process. We are very grateful for the opportunity to have represented Best Oil Company in the sale of the Little Store division and the confidence the McKinney family has shown in Matrix.”

Cloquet, MN-headquartered Best Oil Company was founded in 1939 by R.W. Lindholm who was later joined in the business by his son-in-law, Daryl L. McKinney. McKinney managed the company from 1961 to 1999, and opened the first of the Little Stores in 1971. McKinney transitioned the business to his sons John, Michael and Christopher in 1999 who together continued to grow the Little Store brand and the company’s wholesale fuel business and transportation division. Throughout the 2000’s, the McKinney brothers continued to focus on the Little Store division by razing and rebuilding several locations and upgrading all stores in order to provide exceptional service to their customers. Over the years, several generations of McKinneys have contributed to growing the Little Store division to 19 company-operated stores and one franchise location, and growing the wholesale fuel supply business.

William M. Burns of Hanft Fride served as legal counsel for Best Oil Company. McGladrey LLP provided tax, accounting and structuring advice.