Canada’s biggest grain handler has cleared a legal hurdle on its way to the altar where Swiss commodity giant Glencore awaits.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Thursday issued its "final order" approving the merger of Viterra into Glencore as per the Canada Business Corporations Act, Viterra said in a release.
The court’s approval follows an endorsement of the deal from 99.8 per cent of Viterra’s voting shareholders, who met Tuesday in Calgary to vote on Glencore’s $16.25 per share, $6.1 billion offer.
"Certain regulatory and other approvals" are still required, Viterra said Tuesday. The federal government, for one, hasn’t yet said yes or no to the deal, as per the Investment Canada Act’s rules on major takeovers of Canadian companies by foreign firms.
Glencore said Tuesday it "continues to work within the Investment Canada review process and to pursue regulatory approvals required to complete the transaction."
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission must also rule on the proposal, given Viterra’s grain handling network in South Australia.
The ACCC, on its website, has now proposed June 7 as the date for announcement of its findings. The commission had said earlier it expected to rule on the proposal on May 24, but postponed after requesting "further information from the parties."
The sale is expected to close by the end of July, Viterra reiterated Thursday, "although this date is not certain and may change."
Canada’s Competition Bureau and its U.S. counterpart have already said they won’t oppose a Glencore/Viterra merger.
The Canadian bureau still must rule on Glencore’s plans to sell substantial chunks of Viterra’s handling, processing and ag retail assets to two Canadian agribusiness giants, Agrium and Richardson International.
A successful conclusion to those two deals, however, is not a condition of Glencore’s takeover agreement with Viterra.
Glencore/Viterra marriage clears regulators, May 5, 2012
Glencore confirmed as Viterra’s six billion dollar suitor, March 20, 2012