EG Group, the petrol forecourt giant operated by Asda owners the Issa brothers, is reportedly in talks to merge with Canadian c-store titan Couche-Tard.

Couche-Tard store, Montreal

Couche-Tard runs more than 15,000 convenience stores worldwide

Couche-Tard, which runs more than 15,000 convenience stores in countries including the US, Canada, Mexico, China and Japan, has been in discussions with EG over a deal that would value the business at around $16bn (£12.7bn), including debt. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, the talks are yet to produce a deal and may not lead to one.  

Should a merger be struck, the combined group would boast more than $70bn (£55.9bn) in annual revenue and around 21,000 petrol stations, grocery stores and food outlets across more than 30 countries.

The combined company would remain headquartered in Montreal – home of Couche-Tard’s current head office – according to sources close to the talks. 

Couche-Tard already counts businesses including Circle K minimarts and Cumberland Farms grocery stores, among its sprawling stable.  

The business, founded in 1980, consolidated convenience store chains in Canada throughout the 1990s and expanded into the US in 2001. 

In the past decade, it has been pursuing a landmark deal. It made a hostile takeover bid for Casey’s Retail Company in 2010 and was outbid for the Speedway convenience store chain in 2020.

Last year, the French government blocked its $20bn (£16bn) bid for Carrefour.

Reports of the merger talks come at a time when the Issa brothers are launching a bid for Boots.

The pharmacy chain has been put on the block by owners Walgreens Boots Alliance, which has set a deadline of May 16 for bids.

The Issas have emerged as one of the frontrunners in the race after private equity giants CVC and Bain withdrew from the process in March.

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