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    Couche-Tard Acquires 15 Speedway SuperAmerica Stores

    The stores, located in central Illinois, will be converted to Circle K stores under the Midwest division.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. signed an agreement to acquire 15 stores in central Illinois from Speedway SuperAmerica LLC, the company stated.

    CSNews Online first reported in late January that the Canadian retailer was in talks with Marathon Oil Corp.'s Speedway SuperAmerica chain.

    Speedway SuperAmerica spokeswoman Linda Casey told CSNews Online via e-mail that the transaction was an unsolicited offer and that the chain is "constantly evaluating [its] markets and making decisions based on [its] strategic plan."

    Proceeds from the sale of the 15 stores will be used in markets that more closely meet Speedway SuperAmerica's strategic plan, she added.

    As reported in a CSNews Online newsflash yesterday, the 15 company-operated convenience stores currently operate under the Speedway banner and would be converted to the Circle K banner with Marathon fuel. The stores would be operated by the Circle K Midwest division, and per the signed agreement, Couche-Tard would buy the land and buildings for 14 of the locations, while assuming a third-party lease for one location, the company stated.

    "These 15 stores are located on highly visible and well-traveled roads and occupy strategic locations within their respective trade areas," Darrell Davis, vice president of operations for Circle K's Midwest division, said in a statement. "In addition, these sites are well-operated and have a strong management team in place. Strategically, this acquisition is an excellent fit with our network and complements our expansion and growth plans for the Midwest division."

    The transaction is expected to close in April 2008, and is subject to standard regulatory approvals and closing conditions, the company stated. The purchase price was not disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement between the parties. Internal available cash dollars will pay for the transaction, according to the company.

    Subsequent to the transaction, Couche-Tard's network in the Circle K Midwest division would include a total of 354 company-operated stores, according to Davis.

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