Rendering of a prototype for fas mart

GPM Investments Begins Next Chapter as Arko Holdings & Haymaker Tie-Up Closes

Arko Family of Community Brands logo

RICHMOND, Va. — GPM Investments parent company, Arko Holdings Ltd., closed on its business tie-up with Haymaker Acquisition Corp.

In September, Arko Holdings entered into a definitive agreement with Haymaker, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, to form a business combination. With the combination complete, Arko Corp. — the new company — moves forward as a U.S.-listed public company as GPM embarks on an aggressive remodeling program.

"Today marks an important milestone as we drive the next chapter of our growth as a U.S.-listed public company. We operate in an attractive and highly fragmented industry and have built a proven platform for acquisitions, as demonstrated by our successful track record of closing transactions," said Arko CEO Arie Kotler.

"In combination with our attractive remodel program, and the compelling organic growth opportunities we are executing against, we look forward to building on the success we have driven to date, and delivering value for all of our stakeholders," he added.

Based in Richmond, GPM was founded in 2003 with 169 stores and has grown through acquisitions to reach roughly 3,000 location — approximately 1,350 company-operated stores and 1,600 dealer sites to which it supplies fuel — in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

Remodel Initiative

In November, GPM unveiled a new store prototype it will use for remodels and raze-and-rebuild stores. It expects to remodel approximately 360 in key locations across the country over the next three to five years, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

In its efforts, GPM partnered with GSP, a provider of end-to-end retail services and solutions.

"This is an exciting time for GPM Investments, and we're truly honored and grateful to be entrusted with their extensive remodeling initiative," said Craig Neuhoff, GSP vice president of new business development. "Our goal is to build an unforgettable store experience that will successfully increase same-store sales as well as act as the formula for future rollouts." 

The newly designed stores will feature expanded food offerings including grab-and-go and prepared food menu options, frozen food and pizza.

"The prototype our design team created takes a holistic approach to developing a cohesive store, fuel foodservice brand designed to surprise, delight and improve the overall  customer experience," said Steven Cohen, GSP vice president of design services.  

"With long-term brand success in mind, GSP's new store redesign package impacts the  entire interior and exterior of the store and includes key category merchandising strategies such as beer caves, foodservice and a robust beverage experience intended to optimize  traffic to categories within the store as well as create excitement about various in-store  product offerings," he added. 

GPM's brands include fas mart, Shore Stop, E-Z Mart, Lil' Cricket, Scotchman, and Village Pantry.

"Delivering on customer expectations is key for GPM. This redesign project is intended to meet and exceed these expectations to help revitalize our regional brands," said Michael Bloom, GPM executive vice president chief merchandising and marketing officer. "We look forward to introducing our fresh, modern look to both new and existing customers across our markets." 

Business Tie-Up

The business combination was approved by Haymaker's shareholders on Dec. 8 and by Arko Holdings' shareholders on Nov. 18. Arko Corp. began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Dec. 23.

It was funded through a combination of cash in Haymaker's trust account and a private placement investment of $100 million in convertible preferred stock from affiliates of MSD Partners LP for a total amount of $295 million.  

"We are excited to announce the closing of our combination with Arko Holdings," Haymaker's Steven Heyer and Andrew Heyer said in a joint statement. "Arie and his talented team have established a proven platform for growth that will be further strengthened by this combination, and enhanced by the planned multi-year remodel and other organic initiatives. We are looking forward to seeing the team capitalize on the attractive opportunities that lie ahead through established strategic initiatives that are underway." 

Raymond James & Associates Inc. served as lead financial and capital markets advisor. Nomura Securities International Inc., Stifel, Nicolaus & Com. Inc., BMO Capital Markets Corp., and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. served as financial advisors and capital markets advisors to Haymaker. 

Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. served as capital markets advisor to Haymaker and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial and capital markets advisor to Arko Holdings. DLA Piper LLP (US), Gornitzky & Co., and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP served as legal advisors to Haymaker. Greenberg Traurig LLP and S. Friedman & Co. acted as legal advisors to Arko Holdings.