CSNews Exclusive: Uni-Marts Auction Approved

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CSNews Exclusive: Uni-Marts Auction Approved

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The auction proceedings for the sale of more than 200 Uni-Marts LLC convenience stores were approved with only minor changes earlier this week by the bankruptcy court hearing its case, CSNews Online has learned.

The 210 company- and dealer-operated sites will be auctioned by Matrix Capital Markets Group, and are located across Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York with a variety of fuel brands. Potential buyers can buy some, all or individual stores.

Such minor changes to the sales proceedings include the way the dealer-owned and -operated sites are marketed, and the rebranding rights for buyers of BP-branded sites in Ohio, Tom Kelso, managing director and principal for Matrix, told CSNews Online in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Under the court's approval, the dealer-owned and -operated sites will be organized into four regions—Ohio, western Pennsylvania, central Pennsylvania and eastern Pennsylvania—instead of the proposed sale by fuel brand, he said. In addition, while the original proposal dictated BP-branded sites in Ohio must keep the BP brand, the court ruled the buyers of the sites have the choice to rebrand the sites, and do not have to keep the BP banner, Kelso added.

Matrix Capital continues to look for a stalking horse bidder for the sites ahead of the acceptance deadline of June 30, he told CSNews Online, adding a number of companies are interested in being a stalking horse, but none have been selected as of press time.

"As soon as we're comfortable and have the best offer" the stalking horse bidder or bidders will be named, he said.

Other bids for stations are due Aug. 13, and an auction will be conducted Aug. 18. Following the auction, a bankruptcy court hearing will take place soon after to approve the sale, according to Kelso.

Interest in the Uni-Marts stations continues to be high. "We have well in excess of 150 potential buyers," he told CSNews Online, noting interested parties run the gamut from single-site buyers to large chains.

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