E.J. Pope & Son, Inc. d/b/a Handy Mart

Transaction Details


E.J. Pope & Son, Inc. d/b/a Handy Mart


Mount Olive, NC



GPM Investments, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARKO Corp. (Nasdaq: ARKO)

Transaction Type:

M&A Advisory

Close Date:

E.J. Pope & Son, Inc. (“EJP” or the “Company”) operated a leading petroleum marketing, convenience retailing, and QSR business in eastern North Carolina.

EJP was founded in 1919 as a coal hauling business by horse-drawn wagon. The Company opened its first convenience store, operating under the Handy Mart store brand, in 1975 in Mount Olive, NC. In 1994, the Company began co-branding stores with nationally recognized foodservice brands in order to enhance the store offerings.

Under the leadership of President E.J. “Judson” Pope III, the Company grew into a highly recognized regional chain of 36 convenience stores with 21 co-located branded QSRs or proprietary foodservice offerings situated across eastern North Carolina.

The Company, via its sister entity Pope Transport, also hauled its own fuel and acted as a common carrier for other third-party hauling customers.

Previously, in 2012, the Company engaged Matrix to divest certain non-core assets. EJP then reengaged Matrix in 2021 to market the entirety of its convenience store business so that the shareholders could focus on the Company’s other businesses and diversify their family wealth.

The shareholders desired to execute a post-closing hauling agreement with the acquirer in order to generate a revenue stream for Pope Transport.

To customize, execute, and complete a confidential sale process that would allow the Company’s shareholders to realize maximum after-tax value upon the sale of the convenience store business, while also generating considerable income through the execution of a hauling agreement.

Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to EJP, which included valuation advisory, marketing of the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the transaction.

Multiple competitive offers were received, and GPM Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARKO Corp (Nasdaq: ARKO), was ultimately selected as the acquirer.

Matrix assisted in the negotiation of the purchase agreement and coordinated the due diligence and closing process.

The transaction with GPM Investments closed in November 2021.

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