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Casey's says Couche-Tard broke securities rules in takeover fight

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Ankeny, Iowa Convenience store operator Casey's General Stores said Friday it has sued Alimentation Couche-Tard, saying the Canadian company, which operates the Circle K chain, violated U.S. securities laws by manipulating Casey's stock price during the ongoing takeover war.

Couche-Tard bid $1.9 billion for the company in April, which Casey's dismissed as too low and not in its best interest. Couche-Tard then took its bid directly to shareholders in June in a tender offer. Casey's urged its shareholders to reject the deal.

Couche-Tard escalated the feud this month by announcing plans to nominate a slate of nine candidates to Casey's board.

Casey's complaint, filed in U.S District court in Iowa, alleges Couche-Tard bought nearly 2 million shares of Casey's stock then announced its latest offer and sold the shares at a higher price on the same day. It also claims Couche-Tard manipulated the market by profiting from its own announcement and artificially depressing the run-up in stock price that typically follows the announcement of a takeover bid.

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