ARKO set to buy Pride fuel stations and stores

ARKO Corp announced it will purchase the 31-location chain for $230 million plus the value of the inventory.

The closing has not been completed yet and is subject to some conditions being fulfilled, officials said in a written announcement.

Bolduc announced in June 2021 that he was putting Pride up for sale, saying at 77 he was ready to step back from the day-to-day running of a business with about 525 employees. Six months later the company was sold to ArcLight Capital Partners, a Boston private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount of money.

By purchasing the Pride company, ARKO Corp. will move into Massachusetts for the first time. The company currently operates 1,338 convenience stores in 33 states. The company also recently announced it has acquired Transit Energy Group, a deal that involves approximately 150 convenience stores, fuel supply rights to approximately 200 dealers and bulk storage, distribution and transportation assets in the southeastern United States

“We believe Pride Stores are top-tier assets, with a focus on excellent customer service and a quality loyalty program and we further believe that we can add value to these assets through our operational and merchandising abilities and scale,” said Arie Kotler, president, CEO and chairman of the company in a written announcement.

The sale will technically be made to GPM Investments, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARKO. The corporation will fund about $28 million of the sale with its own sources and Oak Street Real Estate Capital will acquire the real estate assets of Pride as part of the deal, he said.

The company currently ‘has nearly 12,000 store employees and another 1,000 corporate staff members, Kotler said. “With our liquidity and dealmaking ability, we believe we have a long runway to continue our long-term growth strategy, making disciplined, accretive acquisitions at attractive multiples to continue growing our convenience store footprint,” he said.

Pride’s more than 50 years of family ownership, along with its regionally well-known fresh food options were among the company’s attributes cited by ARKO in announcing the purchase plans. Pride sold approximately 74.2 million total fuel gallons in fiscal 2021, according to Kotler.

Company officials did not say if they would keep all the existing management and store employees at Pride but Kotler said in the announcement: “We look forward to welcoming Pride’s employees to our family of Community Brands and working together to enhance the business.”

Little has changed since ArcLight acquired Pride a year ago, Bolduc appointed out in a previous interview.

“Pride is a success because of its dedicated team members and we are excited for the opportunity to join a growing, long-term focused convenience store company with the scale Pride needs to continue enhancing our excellent offerings and strong brand name,” Marsha Medina, chief executive officer of Pride said in the announcement issued by ARKO. She declined to answer further questions about the upcoming change in ownership.

Part of Pride’s holdings also offers eight additional sites in development, including a travel plaza plan for Massachusetts Turnpike exit 40 in Westfield. ARKO company officials did not say if they plan to pursue the existing expansion plans.