Couche-Tard has reacted positively to news that there is a second suitor seeking to acquire Casey’s General Stores.

Seeing the move as a sign that the retailer is ready to sell, it said: “We are pleased that Casey’s is now in in ‘Revlon‘ mode given that the Casey’s board of directors has finally made the decision to put the company up for sale,” it said in a statement today (8 September).

Yet it expressed suspicion over the timing of the news, seeing it as a threat to its attempts to appoint eight new independent nominees to the board.

“We are, however, surprised and suspicious of the timing of the announcement by Casey’s given that it comes only two weeks before the Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Casey’s and only days after the completion of its self-tender. We believe this is another manoeuvre orchestrated by the Casey’s Board to artificially inflate its stock price leading up to the shareholder vote,” it said.

It called for shareholders to question why the Casey’s board has suddenly authorised discussions with a third party regarding only a preliminary, non-binding indication of interest after it has “repeatedly refused to meet with or negotiate with Couche-Tard over an extended period of time regarding Couche-Tard’s firm, all-cash, fully financed premium offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Casey’s”.

Separately, the Canadian operator announced that it has reached an agreement with the FTC in principle, which will mean that should its acquisition attempt be successful, it will have to divest some 25 outlets.

“The agreement with the FTC staff is another step towards making the combination of Couche-Tard and Casey’s a reality,” said Couche-Tard president and chief executive officer of Couche-Tard, Alain Bouchard.

Casey’s did not respond to calls for comment in time for publication.