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Mergers & Acquisitions

Couche-Tard Completes Cracker Barrel Acquisition

Will rebrand the Louisiana convenience-store chain to Circle K

LAVAL, Quebec -- Through its Circle K Inc. subsidiary, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. recently completed the acquisition of 53 Cracker Barrel convenience stores from American General Investments LLC and North American Financial Group LLC for an undisclosed price.

Couche-Tard announced the purchase in August 2016, a week after it won the bidding process to acquire San Antonio-based CST Brands Inc. for $4.4 billion. That deal closed at the end of June.

The Cracker Barrel sites are located primarily in the Baton Rouge market of Louisiana. They include 12 quick-service restaurants (QSRs). All but one offer branded motor fuels under the Shell, Chevron or Cracker Barrel brand names. Of the 53 sites, Couche-Tard will own the land and building for 47 locations and will assume or enter into leases for the remaining six locations.

Couche-Tard will rebrand all of the stores and operate them under the Circle K brand through its U.S. Gulf Coast region.

Cracker Barrel was founded in 1968 with the establishment of a single c-store in Baton Rouge. In the next nearly five decades, the company grew to 53 stores primarily serving the Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La., markets.

Chris Sadler, owner of the Cracker Barrel stores, exited the c-store industry with the sale.

Raymond James advised American General Investments and North American Financial Group. St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Raymond James is an investment firm focusing on the c-store and fuel-products distribution sector. It has closed on 35 transactions since 2011 with a total transaction value of more than $4.5 billion. 

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard's network includes 8,081 convenience stores in North America, including 6,710 stores selling motor fuel, mostly under the Circle K, Kangaroo Express, Mac's and Couche-Tard banners. Its North American network consists of 15 business units, including 11 in the United States covering 41 states and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces.

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