Mercury Fuel Exits Retail Gasoline Business in Split Sale

EG Group picks up eight convenience stores, while Sam's Food Stores picks up the remaining 12 stores.
Logos for Mercury Fuel Services, EG Group and Sam's Food Stores

WATERBURY, Conn. — Mercury Fuel Services Inc.'s convenience stores have new owners.

The Waterbury-based company sold eight of its c-stores to EG Group and 12 c-stores to affiliates of CCO LLC, which operates as Sam's Food Stores. CCO also picked up Mercury's wholesale fuels business, according to Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc.

Matrix advised Mercury on the sales, which marked its exit from the industry.

All the acquired stores are located in Connecticut and sell Mercury's branded fuel, Price Cutter, as well as Sunoco, Mobil, Gulf and Citgo branded fuel. The wholesale business serves dealer accounts in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. 

As part of the transactions, the company also retained the real estate and entered into long-term leases with the buyers of nine of the c-stores.

Michael Devino and Thomas Devino founded Mercury in 1946 as a retail home heating oil business. Over the year, the brothers expanded into motor fuels distribution and the c-store/gas station space.

Second-generation owners, brothers Michael Devino, Jr., president, Martin Devino, chief financial officer, and Thomas Devino, vice president, helped to significantly grow the retail gasoline business by pursuing desirable real estate, going to market with an aggressive pricing strategy, and offering consistent and high-quality service to their customer base, according to Matrix.

"We have built a solid and thriving business over the past 74 years and are proud of everything we have accomplished," Michael Devino said.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Mercury, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale and lease transactions. The transaction was managed by Cedric Fortemps, co-head of Matrix's Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group and John Duni, vice president. 

"We have known the Devino family for many years and in helping them with their strategic planning decisions, discussed the state of the M&A [mergers-and-acquisitions] market and value drivers for convenience retail and fuels distribution assets at various times," Fortemps said. "When the time was right for them, we were honored to have been engaged to help them monetize the exceptional business they built."

C. Robert Zelinger, Jomarie Andrews, and Jared Shwartz from Hinckley Allen served as M&A and real estate counsel for Mercury, and Brian Freeman from Robinson+Cole served as environmental counsel.

Rocky Hill-based CCO LLC, dba Sam's Food Stores, and associated entities, is a privately held, vertically integrated real estate investment, leasing, development/management company, private direct lender and motor fuel distribution company with more than 245 owned, leased or supplied motor fuel locations and convenience stores, which also includes commercial plazas, parking lots, apartment complexes, wholesale warehouses, and specialty smoke shops.

U.K.-based EG Group is the parent company of Westborough, Mass.-based EG America, which operates roughly 1,700 c-stores in 31 states. Its brands include Cumberland Farms, Turkey Hill, Kwik Shop, Loaf 'N Jug, Tom Thumb, Quik Stop, Minit Mart, Fastrac and Certified Oil.