WASHINGTON -- Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a final order settling charges that convenience-store and gas-station operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.’s acquisition of Holiday Cos. would violate federal antitrust law.
In a deal that closed Dec. 22, 2017, Couche-Tard acquired 522 c-stores in 10 states from Holiday Cos., Bloomington, Minn. Under the terms of the consent agreement, Couche-Tard and its affiliate CrossAmerica Partners LP agreed to divest 10 fuel stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin to address antitrust concerns related to that acquisition. The 10 stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin include one Holiday site and nine CrossAmerica sites under the Holiday, Freedom Valu and SuperAmerica brands.
The FTC’s settlement with Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica for the divestment of 10 stations preserves competition in nine local markets: Aitkin, Hibbing, Minnetonka, Mora, Saint Paul (two stations) and Saint Peter, Minn.; and Hayward, Siren and Spooner, Wis. According to the complaint, the acquisition would have increased the risk of both unilateral and coordinated anticompetitive effects in all nine of the markets at issue.
The companies have 120 days from Feb. 15, 2018, the date of the final order, to divest the 10 locations, “at no minimum price, as an ongoing business … [and] provide transition services to the acquirer for a period of 12 months from the divestiture date,” the commission said.
Following the Holiday Stationstores acquisition, Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s network includes 9,987 c-stores in North America, 8,657 stores with motor-fuel dispensing. Its North American network consists of 19 business units, including 15 in the United States covering 48 states and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces. Through CrossAmerica, Allentown, Pa., it also supplies fuel under various brands to more than 1,200 locations in the United States.