Matrix Announces the Successful Sale of Diversified Energy, LLC
RICHMOND, VA / BALTIMORE, MD – December 15, 2021 – Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc. (“Matrix”), a leading, independent investment bank, announces that it has advised Diversified Energy, LLC (“Diversified Energy” or the “Company”) on the sale of its propane distribution business to Sharp Energy, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK). Diversified Energy is one of the largest propane retailers in its region, serving approximately 19,000 residential, agriculture, and commercial customers throughout 44 counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as a smaller footprint in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Diversified Energy was founded in 2000 by 19 of North Carolina’s Electric Membership Cooperatives (“EMCs”). The EMCs made this investment in pursuit of an alternative energy source to market to their customer base, and to gain exposure to the promising innovation of fuel cell technology for their core electricity businesses. The original three companies acquired and brought under the Diversified Energy banner were Farm & Home Gas in northeastern North Carolina; Tart Gas in central North Carolina; and Collier Gas in southeastern North Carolina. Each had more than 50 years of experience in retail propane operations, providing delivery and service to thousands of customers. In the fall of 2000, Diversified Energy also acquired JF Energy Corp., located in southeastern Pennsylvania. JF Energy’s Mid-Atlantic hybrid business model of wholesale supply/distribution, bulk plant construction and repair services helped expand both the operational footprint and customer count for Diversified Energy.
In 2005, the Company hired Kirk Bailey as the new President and CEO. Mr. Bailey began his career with one of the industry majors, and later headed up operations as vice president for a regional propane company prior to accepting the lead position with Diversified Energy. With a keen focus on residential customer market share expansion and high-end product offerings, the Company continued to mature under his leadership.
After a strategic review with the executive committee board of Diversified Energy, the full board of directors made the decision to monetize their respective investments in Diversified Energy to redeploy capital into their individual (EMC) electricity businesses.
Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Diversified Energy, which included valuation advisory, marketing of the Company through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the sale. The transaction was managed by Sean Dooley, CFA, Managing Director; Spencer Cavalier, CFA, Co-Head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; and John Mickelinc, CFA, Associate.
Stephen Hamlin, Chairman of the Board of Diversified Energy and President & General Manager of Piedmont Electric Cooperative, stated, “After much deliberation, the Board of Diversified Energy made the difficult decision to divest itself of its propane company assets in favor of its electric cooperative owners. Over the years our management team has done a remarkable job in bringing value to Diversified Energy’s owners. We are also extremely grateful to our team at Matrix who worked diligently to bring this deal to a very beneficial conclusion.”
Mr. Dooley added, “Matrix feels very privileged to have been chosen by the board of Diversified Energy to execute on the divestment of the propane distribution business. We commend Kirk on the success of the business he helped build and wish Steve and each of the other EMCs all the best on the continued growth of their respective electricity businesses.”
Adam Beaudoin, Joseph DelPapa, and Michael Kohagen of Ward and Smith, P.A. served as legal counsel for Diversified Energy.