Couche-Tard ups its bid for Australia's Caltex

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. submitted a revised bid to Caltex Australia Ltd. to acquire 100 percent of the company.

Under the new bid, Couche-Tard would pay a cash price of A$35.25, or U.S. $23.73, per ordinary share. The Canada-based retailer made the revised proposal on Feb. 12.

It was the third bid Couche-Tard made for Caltex, a transport fuel supplier, with a network of approximately 2,000 company-owned or affiliated sites across Australia.

Couche-Tard made the first acquisition proposal on Oct. 11, and the second came on Nov. 18. The last "unsolicited, conditional, confidential, non-binding and indicative proposal" from Couche-Tard came in at A$34.50 per share, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

On Dec. 3, Caltex rejected the offer after its board of directors concluded Couche-Tard's proposal undervalued the company and did not represent compelling value for Caltex's shareholders. However, the board offered to provide Couche-Tard with selected non-public information to allow it to formulate a revised proposal.

"We believe this Further Revised Proposal takes into consideration the information provided throughout our engagement to date and represents a compelling premium for Caltex shareholders, as well as immediate certainty of value," said Brian Hannasch, president and CEO of Couche-Tard.

"We have long viewed the Asia-Pacific region as strategic to Couche-Tard's future growth, and we look forward to our continued engagement with the Caltex board in progressing this Further Revised Proposal," he added.

"We remain a committed buyer of the entire Caltex business, where we see a potential opportunity to leverage our deep operating expertise and global insights to support and grow the Caltex business."

Laval-based Couche-Tard has more than 16,000 sites across 26 countries and regions. Its global brand is Circle K. Goldman Sachs is acting as financial adviser and Allens is acting as legal adviser to Couche-Tard in relation to the Further Revised Proposal.

The Further Revised Proposal represents the company's best and final offer price, in the absence of a competing proposal, according to Couche-Tard.

Competition could be coming. According to Bloomberg, U.K-based EG Group is reportedly in talks to team up with Macquarie Group Ltd. to make a play for Caltex.

If their bid is successful, EG Group would keep Caltex's main retail business, while Macquarie would take on its refinery unit and some infrastructure assets, sources told the news outlet.