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WSJ Reports Couche-Tard Nears Deal to Acquire CST

Retail conglomerate Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., a Canadian holding company and franchisor of convenience store brands such as Circle K, is the likely winner of an auction deal to acquire c-store chain CST Brands Inc. CST is a spin-off of Valero Energy Corp., which goes mainly under its Corner Store brand of nearly 1,000 stores in the southwestern U.S., New York and eastern Canada.

It isn't clear what the Canadian company would pay, but CST has a market value of $3.4 billion, meaning a deal is likely to be valued around that level or higher. A transaction could be announced as soon as this week, one of the people added—though as always, a deal may not be reached or another of the bidders that has been vying for CST could prevail.

…Engine Capital LP in December called on CST to explore options, saying it could attract a buyer at $50 to $55 a share. The activist investor criticized CST's management and its costs compared with those of rivals like Couche-Tard. In March, Engine and a second activist, JCP Investment Management, struck a deal to add two new directors to the board amid the strategic review. Then in May, CST agreed to sell around 80 stores in California and Wyoming to 7-Eleven Inc. for $408 million. []

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email