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TravelCenters Attracts Attention of Private-Equity Firm

WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America reportedly rejected a $14-per-share acquisition bid made by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in December.

According to The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco-based Golden Gate’s bid valued the travel center and c-store operator at $540 million. The news outlet added Golden Gate is still interested in acquiring TravelCenters, but won’t make a hostile bid for the company.

The bid is significant, especially considering TravelCenters' shares closed at $6.76 per share at the end on trading on the New York Stock Exchange on June 14. Upon hearing this potential acquisition news, shares of TravelCenters roared higher in Wednesday afternoon trade, with shares trading hands at as high as $9.23 per share, before settling in the $8.40 per-share range, representing a 25-percent one-day advancement. Prior to one-day jump, TravelCenters shares had declined to the tune of 26 percent thus far in 2016.

Following Wednesday’s share price increase, TravelCenters is now valued at approximately $327 million.

As CSNews Online previously reported, this is not the first time a private equity firm has been linked to TravelCenters. In 2015, RDG Capital Fund Management sent a letter to TravelCenters' board of directors asking the company to immediately buy back $100 million worth of its shares in an effort to boost its stock price.

Golden Gate has invested in several businesses in the past, including California Pizza Kitchen Inc. and Eddie Bauer. It also bought Red Lobster from Darden Restaurants Inc. in 2014.

Westlake-based TravelCenters of America LLC has aggressively acquired c-stores in the past several months. It now owns 228 convenience stores that primarily operate under the Minit Mart name. It also operates 255 travel center locations.

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