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Who's the Real Fertilizer War Victor?

The Fertilizer Wars are over, but who will turn out to be the real winner in this bitter contest for crop-nutrient dominance?
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Fertilizer Wars climaxed last Friday with the cessation of hostilities between Agrium (AGU) , CF Industries (CF) - Get CF Industries Holdings, Inc. Report and Terra Industries (TRA) , and the retreat back to Norway of European fertilizer giant Yara Industries, a late arrival to the battle scene.

With CF's deal to acquire Terra, shareholders of the Sioux City, Iowa, nitrogen specialist will receive $37.15 cash, plus about a tenth of a share of CF stock, for each Terra share they own. As of Friday's close, that computes to $46.73.

And let's not forget the $7.50 a share that Terra management had already dished out to its holders late last year.

CF shareholders, for their part, will have stakes in a bigger company, which many believe will constitute one of the most formidable players in North America agriculture, poised to take part in a recovering farm economy, with planters flush from firming crop prices ready to stock up on their fertilizers.

First, however, they'll have to suffer some dilution. CF plans to issue $1 billion in equity to pay for the acquisition.

And second, they'll have to hope CF can mend some bridges and integrate two companies at serious loggerheads for more than a year. CF's chief executive, Stephen Wilson, told


on Friday that that ought not to present much of a problem. We'll see.

As with all such deals, however -- and as

The New York Times'

Deal Professor

points out

Monday -- the biggest winners will likely be the bankers and deal lawyers who pushed the whole apparatus along, greasing the skids with their advice, their financing, and their legal briefs. (CF alone spent $278 million on bankers and lawyers.) Between CF, Terra and Agrium, some of heaviest hitters in M&A were billing hours in this one:

Goldman Sachs

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Credit Suisse

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, Morgan Stanley, Cravath Swain & Moore, Wachtel Lipton, Skadden Arps.

On the surface, CF won the battle. But perhaps it remains to be seen who's won the war. The success of mergers, after all, can only be judged once the two entities have combined and made good, or not, on the fiscal promises implied in their celebratory press releases. Agrium and Yara might yet find that the best deal was no deal at all.

With all that in mind, we ask our readers: When it's all said and done, who will turn out to be the real victor in the Fertilizer Wars?

Take the poll below to learn what


has to say. And if you feel so moved by the resolution of the Fertilizer War to post a comment, feel free to do so below.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.