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    Couche-Tard Lowers Purchase Price for Statoil

    However, company will issue special dividend to Statoil shareholders.

    LAVAL, Quebec -- Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has lowered its purchase price for Statoil Fuel & Retail ASA. The parent to Mac's Convenience Stores and Circle K stores said during its annual general shareholders meeting today that it will pay $2.679 billion for Statoil, compared to a $2.8 billion figure when the deal was first announced on April 18.

    Couche-Tard did not say why the offer was adjusted. However, the company said it would pay a special dividend that equates to about 31 cents on each of Norwegian-based Statoil's 300 million issued and outstanding shares.

    Couche-Tard's offer still represents a 50-plus percent premium compared to Statoil's closing price on April 17.

    Statoil has about 2,300 convenience stores throughout Scandinavia, Russia, the Baltic States and Poland.

    As CSNews previously reported, Couche-Tard believes the Statoil acquisition allows the company to expand into Europe and enter growing markets. "We strongly believe that our all-cash proposal is compelling for Statoil Fuel & Retail's shareholders as it offers them the opportunity to realize full and immediate value for their investment. Moving into Scandinavia and Europe is an important step in implementing Couche-Tard's growth strategy," said Alain Bouchard, president and CEO of Couche-Tard.

    Birger Magnus, Statoil's chairman of the board, said last week that Couche-Tard's offer was carefully reviewed and provides a considerable cash premium for investors. "We believe that Couche-Tard would represent a solid industrial owner and that the transaction could deliver interesting growth opportunities for the combined organization," stated Magnus.

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