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Holiday Stationstores Buys 14 Franchised Stores

With the transaction, Coborn's will focus on its grocery store operations.
Danielle Romano
Holiday exterior

LAVAL, Quebec  Holiday Stationstores LLC is expanding its footprint with the acquisition of 14 Holiday franchised fuel and convenience stores from Coborn's Inc. The transaction also includes one development site.

Headquartered in St. Cloud, Minn., Coborn's is a 102-year-old, employee-owned company that was founded by Chester A. Coborn, who opened a one-room produce store in Sauk Rapids, Minn. Coborn's owns 77 grocery stores across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois under the Coborn's, Cash Wise Foods, Hornbacher's, Tadych's Marketplace Foods and Sullivan's Foods banners. 

[Read more on CSNews' coverage of Mergers and Acquisitions]

Coborn's entered into the c-store business in 1986 with Little Dukes branded stores and converted 14 locations to Holiday franchised stores in 2006. 

In addition to its grocery and c-store retail operations, Coborn's also operates several fuel, liquor and pharmacy sites. To support its more than 200 business units, the company operates its own central bakery, dry cleaning facility and grocery distribution center.

Chris Coborn, a fourth-generation family member, is the current CEO and chairman of the board. His daughter Emily Coborn Wright, vice president of retail support services, and his son, Peter Coborn, director of liquor operations, are fifth-generation family members in leaderships roles.

"We are very pleased with the assistance Matrix provided in divesting our Holiday franchised fuel and convenience stores. This is part of Coborn’s overall strategy to focus our growth efforts on the grocery store market," said Chris Coborn. "Matrix's efforts have led to the successful sale of our Holiday franchise stores to our long-term franchisor partner, Holiday. The transaction provides continuity to our store employees and customers, as the stores will remain Holiday branded and continue to accept the Coborn's MORE Rewards program. Matrix did an excellent job at meeting our strategic objectives in the sale."

Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., an independent investment bank, provided merger-and-acquisition advisory services to Coborn's, including valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale. 

The transaction was managed by Spencer Cavalier, CFA, co-head of Matrix's Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; John Underwood, managing director; Nate Wah, CPA, senior associate; and G. Reilly Erhardt, CPA, analyst.

"Chris and his team have done a tremendous job growing the Coborn's family business. The family legacy is incredibly impressive with what they have achieved over the last century since the company’s founding," commented Underwood. "I am very pleased that Matrix was able to contribute to Coborn’s future growth by selling the Holiday franchised stores to allow for more capital deployment for Coborn’s strategic growth initiatives."

Robert A. Rosenbaum and Morgan A. Helme of Dorsey & Whitney LLP served as external legal counsel for Coborn's.

Laval-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. acquired Holiday Stations Inc. and certain affiliated companies in 2017.

Couche-Tard operates in 25 countries and territories, with more than 14,400 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. It is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, and it is a leader in the c-store industry and road transportation fuel retail in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics, as well as in Ireland. It also has an important presence in Poland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of People's Republic of China. 

Alimentation Couche-Tard is known globally for its Couche-Tard and Circle K banners. It is No. 2 on the 2023 Convenience Store News Top 100 ranking.

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