Alimentation Couche-Tard in the lead to buy US peer CST Brands

Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc is in the lead to buy US convenience store retailer CST Brands Inc, Reuters yesterday reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Couche-Tard said in a statement yesterday that it is in discussions "with third parties regarding possible business transactions, " and added that "no formal agreements have been reached."

Reuters had earlier reported that Couche-Tard Inc and Japan's Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd are in the race to buy CST.

Seven & i, the owner of US convenience store chain 7-Eleven, and Couche-Tard, are competing against several other bidders for CST, including a consortium of private equity firms Blackstone Group and Apollo Global Management, the report had said.

CST, which has a market value of around $3.4 billion, was spun off from Valero Energy Corp in 2013.

The Texas-based company is the second-largest publicly traded fuel and convenience retailer in North America.

It owns and operates 1,900 convenience stores and gas stations in the US and Canada and also sells fuel under the Valero and Diamond Shamrock brands.

It also owns fuel supply chain CrossAmerica, which is primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of motor fuel and the ownership and leasing of real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuel.

CST offers a range of products, such as snack foods, tobacco products, beverages and fresh foods, including its own brands, Fresh Choices sandwiches, salads and packaged goods, U Force energy drinks, Cibolo Mountain coffees in the US, Transit Cafe coffee and bakery in Canada, FC bottled sodas, and Flavors 2 Go fountain sodas.

CST, which reported 2015 revenues of about $11.4 billion, competes with 7-Eleven, Alimentation Couche-Tard, Casey's General Stores, and The Pantry.