Agrium ups hostile bid

CALGARY — Fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has again increased its hostile bid to buy rival producer CF Industries Holdings Inc., valuing the U.S. company at more than $4.1 billion.

CALGARY — Fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has again increased its hostile bid to buy rival producer CF Industries Holdings Inc., valuing the U.S. company at more than $4.1 billion.

The new offer, announced early Monday, raises the cash portion of Agrium’s bid 14.3 per cent to US$40 per share plus one Agrium share for every one of CF (NYSE:CF).

That brings Agrium’s total offer for CF Industries to about C$85.20 per share or $4.12 billion based on Agrium’s closing stock price on Friday.

In addition, Agrium has extended its offer to June 15 from May 19.

CF Industries has repeatedly rejected Agrium’s offers and is pursuing its own hostile takeover offer for Terra Industries, a U.S. rival (NYSE:TRA)

Agrium, meanwhile, has gone directly to CF shareholders with its offer in an attempt to get around the U.S. company’s board of directors.

CF, primarily a fertilizer maker, opposes a hookup with Agrium and has raised concerns about a merger with a company with more than half its revenue coming from retail fertilizer.

In Agrium’s release, president and CEO Mike Wilson said “this substantial increase in cash, along with Agrium’s strong and diversified business profile, provides CF stockholders with a very attractive opportunity and reaffirms our commitment to acquiring CF.”

Wilson said he hopes CF shareholders who support the bid will put pressure on the company to negotiate.

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