Matrix Announces the Successful Sale of Freeman Gas and Electric Co., Inc.
RICHMOND, VA/BALTIMORE, MD – June 16, 2021 – Matrix Capital Markets Group, Inc. (“Matrix”), a leading, independent investment bank, announces the successful closing on the sale of Freeman Gas and Electric Co., Inc. (“Freeman” or the “Company”) to Superior Plus Energy Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Superior Plus Corp. (TSX:SPB). Over its 85 year history, Freeman has grown to become one of the largest independent, family-owned propane distributors in the U.S.
Freeman Gas and Electric was first established in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1936 by J.R. Freeman, Sr. and H.S. McKeown when they opened a modest appliance dealership. Freeman and McKeown soon discovered that gas was especially popular in local rural areas where electric service was not yet available. Due to the high demand for gas and gas appliances, the Company began to sell and distribute gas appliances and bottled gas. After J.R. Freeman, Sr.’s passing in 1959, his son, J.R. “Bob” Freeman, Jr. became President of Freeman Gas. Over the following decades he expanded the Company’s service territory by building additional branch offices and bulk plants throughout the Southeast, as well as led the development of Freeman’s cylinder exchange business. Years later, Bob Freeman, Jr. was succeeded by his son J.R. “Rob” Freeman, III as President in 1997. Under Rob’s leadership, the Company experienced superior organic growth of its service area and customer base by expanding into Georgia, opening 14 new stores and building 16 new bulk plants, and nearly tripling propane volumes.
Today, Freeman is a full-service propane retailer providing propane gas deliveries, gas appliance sales, and installation and repair services to nearly 70,000 residential and commercial customers across 86 counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Company operates 23 retail showrooms and 38 bulk plants and is known for its quality workmanship, superior customer service, focus on safety, and community involvement.
“In Superior Plus, we found an outstanding partner who can carry on the Freeman legacy of excellence in service to our customers, and support for our employees and the communities we serve,” says Freeman Gas president Rob Freeman. “Matrix was a key part of this search, and in consummating the transaction. They provided excellent guidance. We cannot thank the Matrix team enough for the support they provided.”
Matrix provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Freeman, which included valuation advisory, marketing the business through a confidential, structured sale process, and negotiation of the transaction. The transaction was managed by Vance Saunders, Managing Director; Spencer Cavalier, Co-Head of Matrix’s Downstream Energy & Convenience Retail Investment Banking Group; John Duni, Vice President; and John Mickelinc, Associate.
Mr. Saunders added, “Rob and the Freeman family have built a truly remarkable enterprise and one of the propane industry’s largest and most highly regarded private companies. We are honored that they entrusted us with this assignment to realize the value created by three generations of hard work and dedication, and it has been a pleasure working with the Freeman family and their team. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
Chip Presten, Lori Jones, Tracey Thompson, and Spencer Davis of Mercer Thompson LLC served as legal counsel for Freeman.