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Couche-Tard Raises Bid for Caltex Australia to $5.9 Billion

Edward Johnson

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. raised its takeover offer for Caltex Australia Ltd. to A$8.8 billion ($5.9 billion) as other parties including EG Group circle the Australian fuel retailer.

Sweetening its bid for a second time, Couche-Tard is now offering A$35.25 per share in cash for Caltex, after earlier offers of A$34.50 and A$32 were rejected as too low, according to a statement Thursday. The latest approach is 7% higher than Wednesday’s closing price.

Caltex shares rose 2.4% to A$33.73 at the Thursday close in Sydney.

Caltex, which had granted the Canadian suitor some access to its books, said it was considering the revised proposal. In a separate statement, Couche-Tard said its latest bid is the company’s “best and final” price, in the absence of a competing offer.

The Australian fuel retailer, which has a network of about 2,000 sites, has confirmed it has been approached by a number of parties including EG Group, the company led by Britain’s billionaire Issa brothers.

EG Group is in talks to team up with an arm of Macquarie Group Ltd. in its attempt to acquire Caltex, according to people familiar with the matter. 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, the people said.

Couche-Tard’s offer is subject to various conditions and there’s no certainty it will result in a deal, Caltex said.

(Adds that offer is Couche-Tard’s best and final bid in the fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Johnson in Sydney at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at ejohnson28@bloomberg.net, Angus Whitley, Peter Vercoe

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