Israeli Chain Eyes Second Major U.S. Acquisition

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Israeli Chain Eyes Second Major U.S. Acquisition

BALTIMORE -- Gmul Investments and Marlaz-Shore Area Construction Property and Holding are holding preliminary negotiations through GPM Investment to expand their convenience store and gas station business in the southeastern United States, according to Israeli newspaper Globes.

Globes reported that GPM is holding preliminary negotiations to acquire 300 gas stations and convenience stores in Virginia and neighboring states with annual revenue of more than $900 million, more than double the revenue of Fas-Mart Convenience Stores Inc., which Gmul Investments and Marlaz acquired early this year.

One retailer with operations in the Mid-Atlantic told CSNews Online the chain in question is likely Baltimore-based Crown Central Petroleum Corp., which operates 314 c-stores, two Texas refineries and 10 product terminals.

In February, fearing that its long-term viability was in jeopardy, Crown, which operates c-stores under the Fast Fare and Zippy Mart brands, hired New York-based Park Avenue Equity Management LLC to help it sell the company -- as a whole, or piece by piece. The company was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

According to the Globes report, the chain's owners are asking $80 million. GPM, which wants to repeat the success of Alon Group subsidiary Alon USA, is considering financing the acquisition through loans from U.S. banks.

Gmul Investments and Marlaz in March completed their acquisition of Fas-Mart in March for $34.7 million. The deal included 169 convenience stores and gas stations.