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Mergers & Acquisitions

Couche-Tard Gets FTC’s OK to Sell 2 Stations

Commission also accepting comments on Holiday divestments

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved an application by Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. to divest two gas stations in Alabama, as required under the FTC’s Jan. 5, 2018, ordersettling charges that Couche-Tard’s acquisition of competitor Jet-Pep Inc. would violate federal antitrust law.

The application requests the FTC to approve the divestiture of the two retail fuel stations in Brewton and Monroeville, Ala., to Marketplace Development LLC. The application notes that Marketplace Development has extensive experience operating retail fuel stations.

The commission’s vote to approve the application was 5 to 0. The FTC did not rule on Couche-Tard’s application to divest a third Jet-Pep station in Valley, Ala., to PPBB LLC.

Marketplace Development owns three Kangaroo Express locations in the Memphis, Tenn., area, with franchisee agreements with Couche-Tard. The Memphis-based company is in the process of acquiring four additional c-stores from a third party unaffiliated with Couche-Tard. Based in Valley, PPBB has operated the Jet-Pep station as Jet Pep’s commission agent since 2009.

Holly Pond, Ala.-based Jet-Pep consists of 101 commission-operated retail sites, including 92 fee sites, five lease sites and four independent commission accounts.

Additional Stores for Sale

Meanwhile, in connection with Couche-Tard’s acquisition of Holiday Cos., the FTC also is accepting public comments on an application by Couche-Tard to divest three of its 10 fuel stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The divestitures are required under the FTC’s Feb. 16, 2018, final order settling charges that Couche-Tard’s proposed acquisition of Holiday 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.

Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica are required to identify a buyer or buyers that are acceptable to the FTC within 120 days after the transaction closes. The agreement also requires Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica to maintain the economic viability, marketability and competitiveness of each station until the divestiture is complete.

The FTC will decide whether to approve the application after a 30-day public comment period, which expires on June 26, 2018.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard's network includes about 9,500 c-stores in North America. Through Allentown, Pa.-based CrossAmerica, Couche-Tard supplies fuel under various brands to more than 1,200 locations in the United States. Couche-Tard ranked No. 2 in CSP's2017 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

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