UPDATE 3-Canada's Couche-Tard to buy Texas-based convenience store chain
* Deal for $4.4 billion, including debt
* Deal gives Couche-Tard stores in southwestern U.S. states
* Couche-Tard shares touch record high of C$67.99 (Adds background; updates shares)
By Arathy S Nair and Anet Josline Pinto
Aug 22 (Reuters) - Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc said it would buy smaller U.S. rival CST Brands Inc in a deal valued at about $4.4 billion, including debt, to expand its footprint in southwestern United States.
Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard, which operates under Circle K brand globally and its namesake retail brand in Quebec, is one of Canada's most acquisitive companies and has been expanding globally through deals in Europe, Canada and the United States.
The deal, the company's biggest ever, would strengthen its position in both the "sun belt" and the east coast of North America, Couche-Tard Chief Executive Brian Hannasch said in a statement, referring to southern and southwestern U.S. states.
The all-cash $48.53 per share offer for CST represents a premium of 2.15 percent to the stock's close on Friday.
Excluding debt, the deal is valued at about $3.67 billion, according to Reuters calculations. Continued...