Business

Convenience store Giants Couche-Tard, EG Group in deal negotiations


Two of the world’s largest convenience store chains are discussing a deal that will combine

BP

gas station, roadside

Starbucks,

Circle K minimarts and Cumberland Farms grocery stores, among other retail brands.

Alimentation

Couche-Tard Inc.,

ATD -2.06%

The company operates 7,000 convenience stores in the US and many overseas, and British retailer EG Group has traded a proposal in recent weeks that would value EG around $16 billion or more including debt, people familiar with the matter said.

Negotiations so far have failed to reach an agreement and they may not lead to an agreement, some said.

If the companies combine, the new group will have more than $70 billion in annual sales and around 21,000 fast food outlets, gas stations and grocery stores in more than 30 countries. It will bring together EG’s network in the UK, Western Europe and Australia with Couche-Tard in the US, Canada, Northern Europe and a handful of other countries.

Some say the combined company will remain headquartered at Couche-Tard’s home in Laval, Quebec, a Montreal suburb.

Toronto-listed Couche-Tard, worth about $50 billion, and privately held EG Group – controlled by the Issa billionaire brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital – haggled over the price, a number of people said. Negotiations have turned hot and cold in recent weeks.

Couche-Tard was founded in 1980, when Alain Bouchard, who remained president, opened a single convenience store in his native province of Quebec. (The name roughly translates to “night owl” in native French.) The company consolidated Canadian convenience store chains throughout the 1990s and entered the US in 2001. The company acquired it. Pantry Inc., owner of Kangaroo Express stores, in 2015.

But Couche-Tard was thwarted in pursuing a needle transfer deal. Casey’s Retail Co. withstood its hostile takeover attempt in 2010. It was outbid in 2020 for the Speedway chain of convenience stores. And last year the French government shoot down its $20 billion deal for grocers

Carrefour SA

.

EG started as Euro Garages, founded in 2001 by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, and half owned by TDR. It merged with the TDR-owned Dutch convenience store chain in 2016 and continues to develop locations:

Kroger‘S

The business is in the UK, the Italian gas stations in Esso and the Cumberland Farms grocery stores are based in New England.

The owners of EG, which also counts UK grocery chain Asda among their shares, are currently bidding in an auction for

Walgreens Boots Alliance Of Inc.

According to people familiar with the matter, the UK drugstore chain. The business, called Boots, could reach a neighborhood price of $10 billion.

Write letter for Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

Copyright © 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appears 30 April 2022, print edition as ‘Minimum retailers are talking to merge.’



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