Couche-Tard takes Europe

Though we're still upset about Couche-Tard killing off Mac's Milk, we have to admit the company’s recent big money moves have left us impressed. 

What happened: Québec convenience store giant Couche-Tard agreed to buy 2,193 service stations across Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg from French energy company TotalEnergies for €3.1 billion—its first acquisition attempt in six years.

  • Some of you may remember the company tried to buy the French grocer Carrefour for $20 billion in 2021, but the French government bloqué’d the deal.

Why it's happening: Couche-Tard has risen from a humble dépanneur to a global corner store leader thanks to its savvy M&A skills. The 2003 purchase of the American chain Circle K (the brand most of its stores now operate under) was the company's quantum leap.

Zoom out: Couche-Tard has also grown thanks to its willingness to experiment. Recently, this has taken the form of turning its locations in Norway into a testing ground for all things electric. It now operates the country’s largest network of electric vehicle charging stations.

  • The company is also looking into other electricity-related revenue streams, like installing EV chargers in offices and selling electricity directly to people's homes.

Bottom line: As gas stations worry about a future powered by electricity, Couche-Tard just reported US$20 billion in revenue last quarter, up 8% from the year before. In our view, that’s an awful lot of coin to put to work to shape what a more modern pit stop could look like.—QH