Couche-Tard & CrossAmerica to Pay $3.5M Penalty for FTC Violation

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Couche-Tard & CrossAmerica to Pay $3.5M Penalty for FTC Violation

07/08/2020
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LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. and CrossAmerica Partners LP, its former affiliate, will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

This will settle allegations that the companies violated an order requiring the divestitures of 10 retail fuel stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin to FTC-approved buyers no later than June 15, 2018.

The order, which was approved in February 2018 following a public comment period, settled charges that Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica's acquisition of Holiday Cos. was anticompetitive as it would have increased the risk of both unilateral and coordinated anticompetitive effects in all 10 of the markets at issue, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

The FTC alleged that violations of the order included:

  • Failing to divest to one or more FTC-approved buyers by the deadline, retail fuel stations in the Minnesota divestiture markets of Aitkin, Hibbing, Minnetonka, Mora, St. Paul, and St. Peter; and the Wisconsin divestiture markets of Hayward, Siren and Spooner;
  • Failing to maintain the viability, marketability and competitiveness of the Hibbing retail fuel station, and failing to divest the retail fuel station as an ongoing business;
  • Failing to provide accurate and detailed information in compliance reports submitted in March, April, and May of 2018 about their efforts to divest; and
  • Failing to provide, in compliance reports from June 18, 2018, through at least June 19, 2019, a full description of efforts to comply with the 2018 order to maintain assets with regard to the Hibbing retail fuel station.

The FTC voted 5-0 to authorize its staff to file the civil penalty complaint and to approve the proposed judgment, as well as to issue a commission statement.

Laval-based Couche-Tard has more than 16,000 sites across 26 countries and regions. Its global brand is Circle K.