3M to Sell its Food Safety Unit to Neogen in $5.3B Deal

The business will first be divested to 3M's shareholders and then merged with a Neogen subsidiary.


LANSING, MI and ST. PAUL, MN — NEOGEN Corporation and 3M announced Dec. 14 that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which 3M will separate its Food Safety business and simultaneously combine it with NEOGEN in a transaction that is intended to be tax-efficient to 3M and its shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The combination will create an innovative leader in the food safety sector with a comprehensive product range and a strategic focus on the category’s long-term growth opportunities.

The transaction implies an enterprise value for 3M’s Food Safety business of approximately $5.3 billion, including $1 billion in new debt to be incurred by 3M’s Food Safety business. This represents an implied multiple of approximately 32x and 27x CY 2022E Adjusted EBITDA pre and post run-rate synergies respectively, based on NEOGEN’s closing price as of December 13, 2021. 3M’s Food Safety business will fund to 3M consideration valued at approximately $1 billion, subject to closing and other adjustments. The combined company is expected to have an enterprise value of approximately $9.3 billion, based on NEOGEN’s closing share price as of December 13, 2021. Under the terms of the definitive agreements, which involve a tax-free “Reverse Morris Trust” structure, existing NEOGEN shareholders will continue to own approximately 49.9% of the combined company, and 3M shareholders will receive approximately 50.1% of the combined company. The Boards of Directors of both NEOGEN and 3M have unanimously approved the transaction.  

“This combination will enhance NEOGEN’s position in this new era of food security, equipping us with an expanded product line that enables us to capitalize on our growing footprint, reaching more customers, more often, while continuing our track record of strong and consistent growth,” said John Adent, NEOGEN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The heightened global focus on food security, sustainability and supply chain solutions around the world presents exciting opportunities for NEOGEN to be positioned as an innovative leader at the forefront of the growth and digitization of the industry. We’re excited to welcome 3M’s Food Safety employees to the NEOGEN team, and we’re looking forward to demonstrating the immense benefits of this combination to our customers, employees and shareholders.”

“NEOGEN and 3M share a deep commitment to quality, innovation and customer satisfaction and long histories of industry leadership. By combining our Food Safety business with NEOGEN, we will create an organization well-positioned to capture long-term profitable growth. This transaction further evolves our strategy, focuses our health care business and benefits our stakeholders, as we actively manage our portfolio to drive growth and deliver shareholder value,” said Mike Roman, 3M Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

An Innovative Global Leader in Food Safety: Key Strategic Benefits

The combination is expected to generate significant long-term value for shareholders of the combined company, as well as customers and employees by:

  • Creating a leading innovator in an industry benefiting from growing demand: NEOGEN’s pure-play food security business, combined with the long-term tailwinds of increased global focus on sustainability, food safety and supply chain solutions, mean NEOGEN is the ideal home for 3M’s Food Safety business. A combination will create a global innovator in food safety with the geographic footprint, product range and innovation capabilities to further capitalize on attractive and enduring growth trends.
  • Expanding food safety product offerings to better serve customers: The company will have a significantly expanded product offering in food safety, particularly in indicator testing and pathogen detection areas, which complement NEOGEN’s existing microbiology lines. NEOGEN will also be able to offer 3M food safety customers its genomics services, which deliver innovative DNA testing – a new offering to 3M food safety customers. This expanded product range, along with NEOGEN’s complementary animal safety business, increases the solutions with which NEOGEN helps customers protect the world’s food supply from the farm gate to the dinner plate.
  • Generating global growth opportunities: The combined company creates an opportunity to optimize NEOGEN and 3M Food Safety’s high-growth capabilities to add value for customers through a compelling product offering. Beyond the U.S. and Europe, heightened interest in developing nations in improving food safety presents significant growth potential for the combined company. The combination will also provide investment flexibility to pursue international expansion.
  • Creating a compelling offering through enhanced R&D capabilities, innovation and analytics: NEOGEN is looking to the future of the industry, and with 3M’s Food Safety business, will possess the breadth and digital capabilities to lead the digitization of the food security industry. The complementary product offerings combined with NEOGEN’s data-driven analytics approach will create a compelling solution as customers seek innovative partners to increase efficiency and enhance food safety protocols.
  • Enhancing revenue, margin and earnings stability: The combined company is expected to have an improved financial profile, which is expected to further enhance NEOGEN’s already consistently high-performing revenue stream with improved EBITDA margins by increasing exposure to highly profitable food safety categories and providing substantial run-rate growth and cost synergies of approximately $30 million in EBITDA contribution. These synergies are expected to be achieved by the end of year three following the close of transaction through efficiencies in product innovation, sales, marketing, distribution and production. The combination will boost NEOGEN’s food safety segment to approximately 70% of total revenue post-transaction, with total projected pro forma revenues of approximately $1 billion expected in the first full year post closing. Pro forma EBITDA is expected to be approximately $300 million with a higher overall EBITDA margin profile of approximately 30% expected in the first full year post closing.

Transaction Details

The transaction involves a tax-free “Reverse Morris Trust” transaction structure, where 3M’s Food Safety business will be spun-off or split-off to 3M shareholders and simultaneously merged with a wholly owned subsidiary of NEOGEN. The transaction is intended to be tax-efficient to 3M and 3M’s shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes. At the completion of the transaction, NEOGEN will issue a number of shares to 3M shareholders such that 3M shareholders will receive approximately 50.1% of the combined company and existing NEOGEN shareholders will continue to own approximately 49.9% of the combined company. In connection with the transaction, 3M will also receive consideration valued at approximately $1 billion, subject to closing and other adjustments.

NEOGEN’s expected pro forma net leverage ratio at close is expected to be less than 2.5x, inclusive of the $1 billion of new debt. Strong expected free cash flow generation and EBITDA growth of the combined business enables rapid deleveraging post-closing.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q3 2022, subject to approval by NEOGEN shareholders, receipt of required regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Leadership and Governance

NEOGEN’s President and Chief Executive Officer, John Adent, and NEOGEN’s existing management team will continue to lead the combined company.

The size of the NEOGEN board will be increased and two new independent board members, to be designated by 3M, will be appointed at closing.

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