Takeover getting hostile

Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) is going directly to shareholders of CF Industries Holdings Inc. to push its hostile US$4.2-billion bid for the U.S. company.

CALGARY — Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) is going directly to shareholders of CF Industries Holdings Inc. to push its hostile US$4.2-billion bid for the U.S. company.

Agium said Monday it is urging fellow shareholders of CF Industries to withhold support from three board members who are coming up for re-election later this month.

Agrium said it filed a proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and mailed shareholders a letter asking them to withhold their votes to protest CF’s rejection of its latest acquisition.

Agrium has been unsuccessfully trying to buy CF for months.

Last month, Agrium sweetened its takeover offer to US$35 and one share of Agrium for each share of CF, a nitrogen producer that has repeatedly shunned Agrium’s offers.

Monday’s letter comes days after CF rejected a sweetened bid from Agrium, calling the bid “grossly inadequate.”

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