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) --


, the privately-held agribusiness giant, plans to divest its majority stake in fertilizer producer



, the companies announced after the close Tuesday.

The move comes as agriculture stocks have rocketed higher amid a boom in crop prices.

Cargill, which spun off Mosaic in an initial public offering six years ago, intends to distribute its 64% stake in Mosaic to Cargill's own shareholders and creditors, effectively buying back some equity and retiring debt. The swap is tax free, the company said.

As of the close of trading Tuesday, Cargill's 286 million Mosaic shares were worth about $24.3 billion.

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Mosaic shares were sliding in afterhours action, changing hands recently at $83.70, down nearly 2% from the regular session close.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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