Cargill Confirms Pursuit of Netherlands' Nutreco Remains Strong

Still determined to reel in Dutch animal feed maker Nutreco NV, Cargill Inc. confirmed Thursday, Dec. 11, that it is considering a solo bid after having its joint offer with Permira batted away.

"Cargill communicated to Nutreco it remains interested in pursuing the acquisition of Nutreco and is looking into the potential of making an offer," the Minneapolis-based food-processing company said. "We have asked Nutreco to give us access to due diligence."

Nutreco has already agreed to a €3 billion ($3.7 billion) offer from closely held Dutch investment firm SHV NV. Although the offer is conditional on SHV getting 95% acceptances, SHV has said it could waive the requirement in favor of a two-thirds acceptance level.

Nutreco recently bolstered its defenses against Cargill, adding Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP to an adviser line-up that includes ING Corporate Finance and Dutch law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.

A spokesperson for Nutreco was not immediately available to comment.

Nutreco shares were up 4.1% in Amsterdam by early afternoon at €46.64, well above SHV's sweetened €44.50 bid, and giving it a market value of around €3.2 billion.

Amersfoort-based Nutreco, whose roots go back to 1899, switched in 2005 out of feed, farming and meat processing to animal nutrition and fish feed. It employs about 10,000 people in more than 30 countries. It reported revenue of €5.2 billion in 2013.

Closely held SHV, founded in 1896 from the merger of several large coal trading companies, is active today in oil and gas exploration through a stake in Dutch joint venture investor Dyas. It also holds stakes in the South American arm of cash and carry wholesaler Makro and Dutch buyout shop NPM Capital. SHV posted €17.6 billion in 2013 revenue.

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