US c-store retailer and takeover target Casey’s General Stores has received support for its board nominees from two proxy advisory services ahead of what looks set to be tense AGM next week.

Casey’s said today (16 September) that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommends the retailer’s shareholders vote for the re-election of the majority of its director nominees. A second advisor, Glass Lewis, recommends that Casey’s shareholders vote for the re-election of all of director nominees.

The decision could be a blow to Casey’s suitor Couche-Tard. The Canadian retailer has so far seen a series of offers for Casey’s turned down by the US firm’s board. Couche-Tard’s pursuit has also included a move to put up its own slate of nominess for election to the Casey’s board at the US retailer’s AGM, which is scheduled for 23 September.

Casey’s president and CEO Robert Myers said he “appreciated” the recommendations from ISS and Glass Lewis. However, he questioned ISS’s partial recommendation.

“We appreciate that both ISS and Glass Lewis are recommending that shareholders vote on Casey’s white card and that both proxy advisory services recognise that shareholders should not hand over this great company to Couche-Tard through a proxy fight,” Myers said. “However we disagree with ISS’ withhold recommendation with respect to two of our director nominees. We urge shareholders to vote for all of our nominees.”

In its recommendation, Glass Lewis criticised Couche-Tard’s US$38.50-a-share offer for Casey’s.

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“In our opinion, the dissident [Couche-Tard] has not proven that the offer represents the greatest value for shareholders nor has it shown that the incumbent directors should be removed from the board at this time.”

Casey’s has also attracted a takeover bid from US c-store giant 7-Eleven. The offer came in at $40 a share but Casey’s rejected the offer. Casey’s did, however, agree to talks with 7-Eleven to see if a deal could be reached that reflected the “true value” of the business.