Image source: CST Brands. 

What: Shares of CST Brands (NYSE:CST), one of the largest independent wholesalers and retailers of fuel and convenience merchandise in North America, are surging 14% higher Friday morning after a strategic announcement.

So what: A couple of developments are at play here. First, CST Brands, after months of pressure, agreed to place two new members to its board of directors with ties to two activist investor groups, JCP Investment Management and Engine Capital LP.

Also, CST Brands announced it has asked Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase & Co. to advise the company's "exploration of strategic alternatives," which many believe to be the first step toward a potential sale.

Now what: As Kim Lubel, president and CEO of CST Brands, commented in a statement, "We believe there continues to be a disconnect between CST's intrinsic value and the price of our common stock in the public equity markets. For this reason, our Board of Directors is initiating a process to explore and evaluate a wide range of strategic alternatives to maximize value for our stockholders."

Long story short, investors have been rightfully disappointed in CST Brands' financial and stock performance since it was spun off from Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE:VLO) in 2013.

CST Chart
CST data by YCharts.

Whether or not these "strategic alternatives" will provide any long-term values beyond Friday's 14% jump is a story yet to play out, but buying into a stock hoping for a transaction isn't a strategy I personally employ. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.