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(Adds Couche-Tard statement)
By Lauren Hirsch and John Tilak
NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc is in the lead to acquire CST Brands Inc, a U.S.-based convenience store retailer, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
San Antonio, Texas-based CST owns and operates convenience stores and gas stations in Canada and the United States, and it controls the general partner of gas station company CrossAmerica Partners LP.
CST declined to comment.
In a statement on Tuesday, Couche-Tard said it is in discussions "with third parties regarding possible business transactions."
"No formal agreements have been reached," it added.
Couche-Tard shares closed up 3.1 percent, while CST's stock ended the day 6.3 percent higher.
The move highlights the level of consolidation in the convenience store sector and reinforces Couche-Tard as one of the most acquisitive players in the industry.
The news comes about two months after Reuters reported that Couche-Tard and Japan's Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd had submitted offers to acquire CST.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Couche-Tard was close to buying CST. (Reporting by Lauren Hirsch; Writing by John Tilak; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Tom Brown)