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Couche-Tard Agrees to Acquire U.S. Stores From Exxon

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the operator of more than 5,800 convenience stores, agreed to acquire locations in California from ExxonMobil Corp. after a bid to boost its U.S. presence failed last year.

The acquisition of up to 322 locations will be made through its subsidiary, Circle K Stores Inc., the Laval, Quebec-based company said today in a statement. A purchase price wasn’t disclosed. The companies said the deal will close in stages starting in the last three months of this year.

Couche-Tard, led by Chief Executive Officer Alain Bouchard, is renewing expansion efforts eight months after abandoning an attempt to acquire U.S. convenience chain Casey’s General Stores Inc. Couche-Tard currently gets more than three quarters of its revenue from the U.S.

The Canadian chain had offered $38.50 a share for Casey’s General, which operates more than 1,500 locations in the U.S. That failed when Casey’s General shareholders rejected directors nominated by Couche-Tard.

In the quarter ended Jan. 30, Couche-Tard generated 78 percent of its revenue from the U.S. as total sales rose 14 percent to $5.6 billion.

Couche-Tard rose 33 cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$26.91 at 4:01 p.m. on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The shares have gained 40 percent in the past year, compared with an 11 percent gain for the S&P/Toronto Stock Exchange Composite Index.

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