Agrium heats up hostile bid

Calgary-based fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) is asking shareholders of U.S.-based fertilizer producer and distributor CF Industries to demand the company negotiate a mutually beneficial merger agreement with the Canadian business.

CALGARY — Calgary-based fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) is asking shareholders of U.S.-based fertilizer producer and distributor CF Industries to demand the company negotiate a mutually beneficial merger agreement with the Canadian business.

The request is contained in a statement issued Monday by Agrium president and CEO Mike Wilson, after the Deerfield, Ill.-company rejected Agrium’s latest revised offer to acquire all of CF Industries’ outstanding shares.

Agrium has been trying to acquire CF Industries since February in a hostile bid.

Its most recent offer, announced last Monday, valued the U.S. producer at more than $4.1 billion and raised the cash portion of Agrium’s bid to US$40 per share, plus one Agrium share for every one of CF (NYSE:CF).

But the American producer said last Friday that Agrium’s offer to acquire all outstanding shares is not lucrative enough for stockholders.

The company said Agrium’s revision to its offer added $5.00 in cash per share, which is only $0.58 above the $4.42 per share increase in CF Industries’ cash position during the first quarter.

“The inescapable fact is that Agrium’s offer, which provides a premium of nearly 60 per cent to CF’s share price on the day prior to our initial offer, delivers more value to CF stockholders than any of the strategic alternatives articulated by CF, including remaining independent or acquiring Terra Industries,” Wilson’s statement said.

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