UAP takeover complete

Calgary fertilizer and ag retail firm Agrium has officially wrapped up its US$2.65 billion friendly takeover of UAP.

Agrium announced Wednesday it has successfully completed its cash deal to buy the Colorado ag retail company for US$39 per share through a subsidiary, Utah Acquisition, which will now be merged with and into UAP.

UAP will remain the “surviving corporation” and an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Agrium, the buyer said. UAP shares (UAPH: Nasdaq) will no longer be publicly traded.

Agrium’s bid for UAP got approval from U.S. antitrust regulators the day before the May 2 deadline on its cash offer — a deadline Agrium had extended five times since first announcing its bid in December.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approval comes with a requirement that Agrium and UAP sell five UAP farm stores in Michigan and a pair of Agrium stores in Maryland and Virginia, within six months of this deal’s completion. The two Agrium stores must be sold as one unit, the FTC said.

“Agrium and UAP are direct competitors in the six overlapping markets defined by the commission,” said Jeffrey Schmidt, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in a release Monday.

“The consent order announced today will help preserve competition in the market for the sale of fertilizer in these regions after this deal is completed.”

Canada’s commissioner of competition approved the merger back in January.

The deal is expected to make Agrium the largest North American retailer of crop inputs and services. The FTC had noted Agrium is already the largest retail farm store operator in the U.S., with 433 locations in 31 states.

UAP runs about 370 distribution and storage facilities in the U.S. and three formulation plants, selling chemicals, fertilizer and seed to farmers, commercial growers and regional-level dealers.

UAP’s Canadian wing, based at Dorchester, Ont., includes warehouses in B.C., Quebec and Ontario and product lines of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, nutrients, adjuvants, inoculants, growth regulators and other specialty products.

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