Fas Mart's Suitor Is ...

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Fas Mart's Suitor Is ...

RICHMOND, Va. -- By day's end, Fas Mart Convenience Stores Inc., a once thriving 169-store chain locked in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, should know who its next owner will be.

Barring any last-minute maneuvers, the trustee is expected to announce the successful suitor. So far, only one chain has been identified even though it is widely believed that others have submitted proposals.

GPM Investments LLC, which includes Tel-Aviv-based investors Marlaz Financial Group, has bid nearly $50 million, $39 million for assets and $10 million for inventory. If another bidder is selected, GPM would receive a $1.25-million breakup fee.

According to officials familiar with the proceedings, GPM is not alone in its interest to acquire the chain. "The bidding process is closed and there will be announcement today," Dave McComas, who replaced ousted president Owais Dagra, told CSNews Online Tuesday. "But I can tell you if there were just one bidder it would have been announced yesterday."

After achieving near-celebrity status for its ability to frustrate major oil chains with its aggressive gasoline pricing, the feisty Fas Mart hit hard times last year, slammed by an unforgiving economy and mismanagement. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.

Earlier this year, Dagra resigned as chairman, president and CEO and has been accused by the bankruptcy examiner of siphoning off millions of dollars. A federal bankruptcy court last month set a Sept. 26 deadline for companies to bid on Fas Mart's assets.