Commodities giant Glencore, partnered with Canada’s Richardson International and Agrium, agreed on Tuesday to buy Viterra, Canada’s biggest grain handler in deal valued at $6.14 billion, a source familiar with the matter said.
Glencore will immediately sell the majority of Viterra’s Canadian assets and certain other businesses to Canadian-based companies Agrium and Richardson International for about CA$2.6 billion in cash, it said. The announcement comes a day after Viterra revealed it was in exclusive talks with a potential buyer.
Glencore said it will buy all shares of Viterra for CA$16.25 per share in cash, a premium of about 50 per cent over its trading value before the first word of a possible deal emerged March 8.
“The acquisition of Viterra is consistent with Glencore’s strategy of strengthening its position as one of the global leaders in grain and oilseeds markets,” said the company based in Baar, Switzerland.
Shares in Glencore were down 2.3 per cent at 411 pence in afternoon trading in London.
Viterra said on Monday it was in exclusive talks with one prospective buyer, but it did not identify the suitor. “I guess they’ve picked a winner from the bid process and now they’re hammering out the details of the bid,” said Jason Zandberg, an analyst at PI Financial Corp, who follows Viterra.
In Viterra, Glencore and its partners would acquire the leading Canadian handler of spring wheat, canola, barley and oats, just as the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on Western Canadian wheat and barley is slated to end later this year. Viterra also holds a dominant grain-handling position in South Australia.
A rapidly growing global population and rising middle class in some developing countries are expected to drive demand for grains higher over the long term, making major grain handlers and food processors such as Viterra more important. Canada is the world’s No. 8 grain producer.
Glencore, which is also pursuing a 23 billion pound ($36 billion) takeover of miner Xstrata, already markets and produces crops, as well as metals, minerals and oil.