High's of Baltimore Unloads 20 Stores

BALTIMORE -- High's of Baltimore Inc. sold 20 of its High's Dairy Stores to multiple buyers, including national consolidators, regional jobbers and individual store operators, according to Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc. The units were all directly operated by High's.

Fee-simple real estate interests in three units and leasehold interests in 17 units were conveyed to the buyers, Matrix reported. The purpose of the sale was to allow High's to redeploy capital to its remaining and new-to-industry retail units, comprised of 46 high-volume convenience stores located in highly populated areas of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor.

"The justification of locations and reallocation of capital to maximize potential return is a process that chains should periodically perform. It has also allowed us to refocus on our core assets," stated Brian Darnell, principal and vice president of real estate for High's.

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

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to High's, including valuation advisory, asset marketing through a customized structured sale process, and negotiation of the transactions. The sale was managed by Tom Kelso, managing director and head of Matrix's Energy and Multi-Site Retail Group; Spencer Cavalier, director; Matt Murphy, senior associate; and Sean Dooley, senior analyst.

Jay Ghingher and Jacqueline Allen of Saul Ewing, LLP served as legal counsel for High's.

"Matrix has been providing valuation guidance to High's shareholders since 2003, which allowed High's to time the marketing of these properties in order to achieve maximum value. We believe High's consistent focus on the assessment and proper allocation of capital is a primary reason the retail chain has continued to grow and thrive," Cavalier stated.