It’s a case of third time lucky for Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard, which has lobbed three bids at domestic fuel retailer Caltex and but is only now about to get the green light to enter the data room.

As first reported by this column, the Canadian suitor – which upped its bid for Caltex to $35.25 a share on Thursday last week – will be granted due diligence access as early as Monday.

While granting due diligence doesn’t necessarily mean Caltex will accept the offer, it’s a pretty good sign given Couche-Tard has declared its offer final. And it certainly puts pressure on rival bidders to get their act together.

The most notable party also circling Caltex is UK-based convenience retailer EG Group, which has teamed up with Macquarie in its hunt for the business.

Couche-Tard’s second increased bid last week came a month after it sat down in Sydney with Caltex’s top management for two days of briefings and confidential presentations.

The Canadian player initially approached Caltex with a $32 a share bid in October last year, which it upped to $34.50 in November.

Third time’s a charm

Caltex’s board – led by Steve Gregg – rejected those two bids but it is understood to have relented.

Couche-Tard declared it wouldn’t push its bid any higher in the absence of competition from a rival suitor.

The Canadian giant has a network of more than 16,000 convenience stores around the world, which was built from a sole store that opened in 1980 in Laval, Quebec.

Caltex has a network of 1900 outlets in Australia.

Extracted from AFR