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April 18, 2012 5:42 PM

Four Firms Grab Roles on Couche-Tard's $2.8 Billion Statoil Deal

Posted by Irene Plagianos

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Canada's largest convenience store chain, agreed Wednesday to buy Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA, Scandinavia's largest gas-station operator, for $2.8 billion.

Laval, Quebec–based Couche-Tard is offering 53 kroner ($9.22) per Statoil Fuel share—a 53 percent premium over the latter's closing share price as of Tuesday. In acquiring Statoil Fuel, Couche-Tard will gain a strong foothold in much of Europe given that the target company has 2,300 gas stations with attached convenience stores across Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland, and Russia.

For Couche-Tard, the transaction announced Wednesday represents a much friendlier and more successful attempt at expansion than the Canadian company's 2010 effort to buy U.S. convenience chain Casey's General Stores Inc. for $1.42 billion. Couche-Tard failed in that hostile takeover attempt.

The deal requires the approval of regulators, and is contingent on Couche-Tard acquiring at least 90 percent of Statoil Fuel's shares.

Canadian firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Norwegian firm Haavind and U.K. firm Eversheds are advising Couche-Tard on the deal.

The Davies team includes Montreal-based M&A partners Sébastien Thériault and Olivier Désilets and New York corporate partners Scott Tayne and Gerald Shepherd. Davies has represented Couche-Tard in previous transactions.

Haavind corporate partner Kjetil Hardeng took the lead for his firm, according to an Eversheds spokesperson. Hardeng did not respond to a request for comment. The Eversheds team is being led by M&A partner Robin Johnson, and includes antitrust partner Stephen Rose.

Bård Standal is Statoil Fuel's general counsel.

According to the Statoil Fuel press release announcing the deal, the company is being advised by Norwegian firm Thommessen.

The deal is expected to close in June.

 

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