Investor Urges Casey’s to Negotiate

An investment group identifying itself as a long-term shareholder of Casey’s General Stores has urged the convenience retailer here to negotiate with Alimentation Couche-Tard, rather than reject its suitor’s overtures flatly.

ANKENY, Iowa — An investment group identifying itself as a long-term shareholder of Casey’s General Stores has urged the convenience retailer here to negotiate with Alimentation Couche-Tard, rather than reject its suitor’s overtures flatly.

Couche-Tard is in the midst of a hostile takeover effort for Casey’s.

“Anything less gives the impression that independence, not the maximization of shareholder value, is the board's highest priority,” New York-based investor Clearbridge Advisors said in a letter to Casey’s board of directors filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Clearbridge said it agreed with Casey’s board that Couche-Tard’s $36-per-share may undervalue Casey’s but that its “intransigence discourages a higher offer and could result in shareholder wealth destruction should the Couche-Tard tender offer be withdrawn or not accepted by shareholders.”

Clearbridge said its meeting with Couche-Tard representatives suggested “a willingness to negotiate.”