Casey's General Stores Inc. urged its shareholders Tuesday to reject a hostile $1.9 billion buyout offer from the owner of Circle K convenience stores.
In a statement, Casey's board said the $36-per-share bid from Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. was too low and wasn't in Casey's best interest.
"We believe this is a self-serving and transparent attempt by Couche-Tard to take significant value that rightly belongs to Casey's shareholders," Casey's CEO Robert J. Myers said in a statement.
He said Casey's shareholders "will reap far greater value from our industry leading performance, significant growth opportunities, successful execution of our strategic initiatives, strong balance sheet and real estate position, and the benefits of our highly differentiated business model and well-regarded self-distribution system."
Casey's, based in Iowa, operates a chain of about 1,500 convenience stores, most of them in the Midwest. Couche-Tard has about 3,500 U.S. stores, including the Circle K chain.
Casey's board has previously said the offer, submitted in April, was too low and rebuffed the bid. But then the Canadian company took its bid directly to shareholders in a tender offer.
On Monday, the feud intensified when Couche-Tard announced plans to nominate a slate of nine candidates to Casey's board.
Myers said Tuesday that Couche-Tard's plan to nominate candidates for the Casey's board is "clearly an attempt by Couche-Tard to gain control of Casey's and force through its inadequate proposal to acquire the company."
Casey's shares closed at $35.50 on Monday, slightly below the price being offered. They traded as high as $39.56 on April 22.
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