Holiday stores, which in 2017 sold its fuel-and-food business to a larger Canada-based operator of convenience stores, will sell 10 of its Minnesota and Wisconsin outlets to preserve competition in those markets, under an order approving the transaction by the Federal Trade Commission.

Retail fuel station and convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard of Quebec agreed to divest 10 fuel stations to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that ACT’s proposed acquisition of Holiday Companies would violate federal antitrust law.

The FTC’s settlement with the Canadian operator “preserves competition in 10 local markets within the Minnesota cities of Aitkin, Hibbing, Minnetonka, Mora, St. Paul, and St. Peter; and Hayward, Siren, and Spooner in Wisconsin. 

Without the divestitures, the FTC alleged, the acquisition would likely substantially lessen competition, likely leading to higher retail prices in these markets.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Couche-Tard acquired 522 Holiday retail-feul outlets in 10 states. Couche-Tard, fast growing in the U.S., agreed to two other packages of divestitures in 2017 in connection with separate mergers. 

CEO Brian Hannasch of Couche-Tard said: “The Holiday assets are a strong strategic fit for our business and expands the [our] reach to 48 of the 50 U.S. states. Adding the Holiday stores, commissaries and fuel terminal as well as its highly successful programs and employees pushes us further in our journey to become the world’s preferred destination for convenience and fuel.”

The transaction, which has yet to be disclosed by the publicly held Canadian firm, has been estimated by analysts to be worth more than $1.5 billion. Bloomington-based Holiday was started 90 years ago by Arthur and Alfred Erickson, with a rural Minnesota general store and gas station. 

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