High's of Baltimore Sold to The Carroll Independent Fuel Co.

BALTIMORE, Md. -- High's of Baltimore, operator of 46 retail convenience stores and gas stations primarily serving the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., suburbs, has been sold to The Carroll Independent Fuel Co.

According to a release from Matrix Capital Markets Group, which provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Hanover, Md.-based High's, the transaction closed today.

High's has been a leading petroleum marketing and convenience store chain in the region for more than 60 years. The company's stores sell Shell and CITGO branded fuels, a wide assortment of convenience merchandise and freshly prepared coffee and food.

Founded in 1907, The Carroll Independent Fuel Co., based in Baltimore, is one of the largest petroleum marketing companies in the nation, distributing fuels to retail and commercial customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The acquisition of High's by Carroll marks its entry into the company-operated channel of trade. Carroll will retain the majority of High's executive management team, according to Matrix.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be aligning with such a high-quality marketer in Carroll," said Brian Darnell, principal and vice president of real estate of High's. "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."

Carroll President John Phelps commented, "Brian Darnell will be leading the organization as president of High's of Baltimore LLC. Ben Jatlow will serve as vice president of retail operations and Briana Darnell will serve as vice president of real estate and development."

The transaction was managed by Matrix's Tom Kelso, managing director and head of its Energy and Multi-Site Retail Group; Spencer Cavalier, director; and Sean Dooley, senior analyst.

"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," said Cavalier. "Bolstered by 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.