Alain Bouchard’s transformation of Alimentation Couche-Tard from a single convenience store into a $35-billion retail empire is one of the country’s more successful business stories of the past 40 years. But recent years haven’t been without their trials. In 2015, less than a year after retiring as CEO of convenience store giant, the executive chairman, along with his three co-founders, put forward a resolution to extend their time-limited voting control—the group holds 22% of the company’s equity—to ward off any future takeover attempts. To Bouchard’s admitted shock, proxies indicated support for the plan was well below the 67% required to pass, and the resolution was withdrawn.
Then, in a shareholders’ meeting this September, Bouchard expressed doubt in the founders’ ability to retain ownership. “There aren’t a lot of solutions here,” he told the Globe and Mail. “We’ve tried. I’m not optimistic.”
But with a market capitalization north of $30 billion, Couche-Tard makes a hard target. And with the synergies flowing from its consolidation of its various brands under the Circle K moniker, and the company’s US$3.8-billion acquisition of Texas gas and convenience store chain CST Brands Inc. last summer, it’ll get harder still.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017