The giant Couche-Tard often compared itself to its emblem, an owl, on its branch, in search of acquisitions. But could Quebec also become prey in the future?
Over the past decades, the company’s founders have owned multiple shares of stock that currently allow them to control 66% of the voting rights, even though they only own 22% of the shares.
With this structure, Couche-Tard was able to swallow its competitors, while rejecting any hostile offers that might have surfaced.
But all good things come to an end. Under the so-called Twilight Agreement signed in 1995, Couche-Tard set an expiration date for its two-class stock structure.
This change was in effect when the four founders were over the age of 65, which is what will happen tomorrow to their youngest, Jack Damore. Alain Bouchard, Richard Fortin and The Real Lord have surpassed this feat.
Thus, the end of the cross-functional actions will lead to a loss of power by the co-founders who will not be able to prevent the acquisition, whether it is solicited or not.
For example, at the beginning of the year Couche-Tard tried to get his hands on the French giant Carrefour. But the latter can try to do the opposite.
Caisse de depot et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which owns more than 4% of the group, noted that the company “is growing efficiently and has an offensive strategy that CDPQ will continue to support in the coming years.”
Through a press release, the Laval Group was reassured. “We’ve been planning this for some time,” said Alain Bouchard, founder and CEO of the Board of Directors.
“My commitment and leadership within the company will not change, and I am more convinced than ever that our scale, culture and winning strategy will serve the company well,” he said.
With Jean-Michel Genoa Gagnon
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