Agrium extends CF takeover offer, again

Fertilizer and ag retail giant Agrium has again extended its cash-and-stock offer for shares in U.S. fertilizer rival CF Industries, this time until midnight ET, Aug. 19.

The Calgary-based company’s unsolicited takeover offer of US$40 plus one Agrium share for each CF share was most recently set to expire Wednesday (July 22).

The extension comes as shareholders pull their CF stock from Agrium’s tender offer, reducing the number of CF shares still committed to Agrium’s offer to 10.4 million, worth about a 21 per cent stake, as of last Friday, down from a 62 per cent stake (30.14 million shares) back on June 23.

“Despite the fact that (CF’s board of directors) continues to ignore a clear mandate to conclude a transaction, we will continue to press CF to execute a mutually beneficial merger agreement,” Agrium CEO Mike Wilson said in a release Monday.

“Our offer remains far superior to any alternative articulated by CF, including remaining independent or paying a premium for Terra.”

That’s a reference to Terra Industries, an Iowa-based fertilizer firm which has been the target of a hostile takeover bid by CF since January.

CF brass have previously described Agrium’s bid for CF as an attempt to interfere in Chicago-based CF’s bid for Terra. CF’s board has been rejecting Agrium’s overtures since February, saying Agrium’s bids undervalue their company.

Canadian assets at stake in these takeover bids include two major nitrogen fertilizer facilities: CF’s plant at Medicine Hat, Alta., and Terra’s at Courtright, Ont.

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