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Cargill Inc. on Tuesday, Dec. 23, bowed out of the running for Dutch animal feed maker Nutreco NV, leaving Dutch investment firm SHV NV free to complete its agreed €3 billion ($3.7 billion) takeover.

"Cargill has concluded it will no longer pursue an acquisition of Nutreco," the Minneapolis-based company said. "In reaching this decision, Cargill considered all relevant facts, including the attractiveness of acquiring Nutreco relative to its alternative potential investments"

The company added that it remains committed to building its global animal nutrition platform through acquisitions as well as organically.

Tuesday's announcement comes less than two weeks before Cargill said it was considering a solo bid for Nutreco, after having a joint offer with Permira rejected.

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Nutreco shareholders are due to meet Feb. 27 for a vote on SHV's €44.50-per-share bid, which it sweetened on Nov. 11 from €40. Nutreco had hired additional advisers to defend itself against Cargill in case it came forward with a new offer after submitting the unsuccessful joint bid with Permira which Nutreco said was worth €43.20 per share.

Nutreco shares were down 4.9% Tuesday in Amsterdam at €44.21, giving it a market value of around €3.27 billion.

Amersfoort-baed Nutreco, whose origins go back to the late 19th century, focuses on animal nutrition and fish feed, having pulled out of meat processing about a decade ago. It employs about 10,000 people in more than 30 countries, and reported revenue of €5.2 billion in 2013. It's due to report 2014 results on Feb. 5.

SHV, founded in 1896 from the merger of several large coal trading companies, posted €17.6 billion in 2013 revenue.

Nutreco is taking advice from ING Corporate Finance and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report , and law firms De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP.