Agriculture Giants Announce $18B Merger

The combination of Bunge and Viterra is likely to draw the attention of antitrust regulators.

A cornfield in Pacific Junction, Iowa, July 11, 2018.
A cornfield in Pacific Junction, Iowa, July 11, 2018.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Bunge is buying Viterra in a deal valued at approximately $18 billion to create a global agricultural giant.

Viterra shareholders will receive about 65.6 million shares of Bunge stock, valued at approximately $6.2 billion and about $2 billion in cash. Bunge will assume $9.8 billion of Viterra debt.

Bunge's grain and softseed handling capacity will grow while it expands origination capabilities in key regions and crops where Bunge doesn't have a strong presence.

"The combination of Bunge and Viterra significantly accelerates Bunge's strategy, building on our fundamental purpose to connect farmers to consumers to deliver essential food, feed and fuel to the world," Bunge CEO Greg Heckman said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

The deal would create a scale that puts Bunge closer to Archer-Daniels Midland and one of the nation's largest private companies, Cargill. But the buyout will also likely put it in the crosshairs of anti-trust regulators in the U.S.

The combined business will keep the Bunge name, with headquarters in St. Louis. Viterra's headquarters in Rotterdam in the Netherlands will serve as a commercial location.

Glencore, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and British Columbia Investment Management are also investing in the deal.

The board of the combined company will include eight Bunge directors and four representatives nominated by Viterra shareholders after the deal closes.

The transaction is targeted to close by the middle of next year. It still needs approval from Bunge Inc. shareholders.

Bunge's stock rose slightly at the opening bell Tuesday.

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