If Casey's acquires all of the Kroger c-stores, it would add 10 new states to its 15-state network: Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Casey's, which is working with an investment bank, is one of several parties looking to buy the Kroger c-stores and may not ultimately be the victor. Final bids are due in early February, the sources told CNBC.
Alimentation Couche-Tard, as well as Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc., El Dorado, Ark.-based, Murphy USA, Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp. (Speedway) and Richmond, Va.-based GPM Investments LLC, are among other companies that could make bids for Kroger’s c-stores.
Of course, Casey’s itself could be acquired, possibly by one of the same list of players, in the event that the company makes the decision to put the publicly owned chain up for sale.
In 2010, Casey's successfully fended off a series of hostile bids from Couche-Tard. 7-Eleven also made a bid for Casey’s at that time but did not consummate a deal. The same determination could still be at work in the current situation.
“The company is focused on generating increased long-term value for shareholders through new initiatives to accelerate same-store growth and returning cash to shareholders through share repurchases and a steadily increasing dividend," Handley said in the press statement responding to JCP’s letter. "With the combination of the company’s growing acquisition pipeline, new-store construction activity, new initiatives aimed at enhancing operations—such as digital engagement and price-optimization projects—Casey’s expects to deliver substantial value for its shareholders.”
That does not sound like a company on the brink of a sale. But stranger things have happened in the unpredictable convenience-store industry.