With FJ-Maverik deal, Utah's Call family reunites
Two forks of the storied Call clan, whose interests span oil refining, fuel distribution, travel centers and convenience stores, are rejoining in a multimillion-dollar deal after 44 years of operating independently.
FJ Management, founded in Utah in 1968 as Flying J by Jay Call, has agreed to buy controlling interest in North Salt Lake-based Maverik Inc., a fuel marketer and convenience store chain started in 1928 by Reuel Call. He later owned the company with Jay Call's father, Osborne, until the two brothers parted ways in the early 1960s.
Even though the deal is huge "I'll say several hundred million," Crystal Call Maggelet, Jay Call's daughter and CEO of Ogden-based FJ Management, said Friday little, if anything, will change after the renewed partnership is formally cemented sometime before the end of 2012.
FJ and Maverik will operate separately with no change in management. Mike Call, Maverik's CEO, one of Reuel Call's grandsons, and Maggelet's cousin, will keep his job. Brad Call, executive vice president, another grandson and cousin to both Mike Call and Maggelet, will stay in his role, too.
The link-up has been in the works for about six months. It was put together so that some of Mike and Brad Call's siblings who aren't involved in running Maverik can tap the wealth that the company has accumulated. Maverik owns close to 250 stores in 10 states.
"It is an opportunity for some of the Call family who aren't in the day-to-day [operation of the business] to cash out their share of the equity," Brad Call said.
Maggelet said some of FJ's executives will join the Maverik board to play a role in shaping strategies to guide the company's evolution inside what Brad Call said is a super-cutthroat industry.
"I just can't think of an industry that's more competitive than this one, in large part because I can't think of another that posts its pricing on the street corner for all to see. Obviously that makes for a very competitive environment for fuel [sales]," Call said.
Despite the ruthless nature of the industry, Maverik is growing. The company expects to open 27 convenience stores in its current fiscal year, which ends in March. It will open the first of several stores in Las Vegas next month, is scouting sites for stores in Denver, and is looking at North Dakota, which would be its 11 state.
A "good way to describe" the convenience store business is grow or die, Call said.
Maverik joins several other businesses and investments under the FJ umbrella. FJ owns the Big West Oil refinery in North Salt Lake and Transportation Alliance Bank, which serves customers in the transportation and other industries.
FJ also is a part owner of the Pilot Flying J travel center network and of Transportation Clearing House, which issues fuel cards and provides other financial services to truckers.
A look at Maverik
Headquarters • North Salt Lake
Operations • Almost 250 convenience stores and gas stations in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Employees • 3,700
Founded • In 1928, by Reuel Call. He later sold part of the business to brother Osborne Call. The pair were partners until the early 1960s, when Reuel bought out Osborne.