Viterra officially in play as it sets out bid terms


Viterra (TSE:VT) Thursday laid out the ground rules to review any potential offers for the grain handler less than seven days after confirming it was in takeover talks.

However, the company warned that it couldn't guarantee the transaction price or if a deal would pan out at all.

In a statement, the company acknowledged reports speculating offers for the company of at least $16 per share.

"Viterra cautions investors not to rely on these press reports as there can be no assurance that a transaction will occur and that if one does occur, there can be no assurance at what price it will be completed," the company said.

Glencore (LON:GLEN) is one of several parties eyeing Viterra. Other parties active in the space are Canadian-listed Agrium (TSE:AGU), U.S. agricultural commodity trader Bunge (NYSE:BG) and agribusiness Cargill, the largest private company in the US.

Analysts reckon that potential bidders could be divided into three categories: grain handlers and grain traders; processors or pension funds and private equity.

The bidding process includes confidentiality agreements and the provision of due diligence, Viterra said.

Viterra stands to benefit from the end of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on the marketing of wheat and barley in Western Canada, so takover talks have come at a good time.

If a takeover offer came from a foreign company, it would need to be scrutinized by Ottawa under the Investment Canada Act.

The "net benefit" provision of the act derailed BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP)(ASX:BHP) hostile US$40-billion takeover of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSE:POT)(NYSE:POT) in 2010.

Viterra has operations across Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and China, as well as a growing international presence elsewhere.

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