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Metro Sells Portion of Its Couche-Tard Holding

LAVAL, Quebec -- Food and pharmaceutical retailer Metro Inc. will sell 10 million Class B subordinate voting shares of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. for $479 million. The shares are being sold to BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., National Bank Financial LTD and TD Securities Inc.

The 10 million share sale represents approximately 7.2 percent of Couche-Tard's outstanding Class B shares. Following the transaction, which is expected to close on Friday, Metro will still own 10.742 million Class A Couche-Tard shares, representing 21.8 of all Class A shares.

According to a Metro news release, the share sales allows it to monetize approximately 48.2 of its aggregate participation in Alimentation Couche-Tard shares, valued at approximately $1 billion prior to the transaction based on the offer price.

"Metro has been a key shareholder of Couche-Tard since 1987 and we are extremely pleased with the performance of the company," said Eric R. La Flèche, president and CEO of Metro. "At this time, given the market value of our holding in Couche-Tard relative to Metro's total value, we decided to monetize a portion of our investment. We still retain a significant economic and voting interest in Couche-Tard, and look forward to the continued growth of our investment. We are evaluating opportunities for use of the proceeds, including investments for growth and return to shareholders."

Class A shares of a company often offer primary voting privileges. Class B shares provide subordinate voting privileges.

Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is the parent of Circle K stores in the United States. It operates more than 6,000 stores in North America.

Montreal, Quebec-based Metro Inc. operates a network of more than 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as 250 drugstores under the Brunet, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.

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