TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Calgary, Alberta-based fertiliser products firm Agrium has extended the expiration date of its offer to buy US rival CF Industries once again.
The offer, of $45 in cash plus one Agrium share per CF share, was to have expired on February 22 but the deadline has been extended until midnight New York City time on March 22.
CF has repeatedly rejected the Canadian company's advances as too low, but Agrium CEO Mike Wilson said on Friday that he is still hopeful of success.
The company plans to nominate two directors for shareholders to vote on at the firm's next annual general meeting.
"Agrium remains fully committed to acquiring CF and will proceed with the nomination of two highly qualified, independent individuals to CF's board of directors,” Wilson said in a statement.
Agrium has been trying to buy CF for more than a year, during which time CF was also locked in a hostile takeover bid for smaller firm Terra Industries.
However, CF withdrew its offer and said it was selling all its Terra shares in January, citing improving conditions for fertiliser stocks which the company said meant it would have had to raise its offer too much to ensure success.
Terra announced earlier this week that it had agreed to be acquired by Norway's Yara International.
“The recent Yara merger agreement with Terra illustrates the important benefits of being part of a larger, global company,” Wilson commented.
“We believe CF will recognise this as well, despite the fact that CF has so far ignored a clear mandate from its own shareholders to execute a mutually beneficial merger agreement with us.”
About 12,5-million shares of CF had been tendered into and not withdrawn from Agrium's offer as of 17:00 on Thursday, the company said.
This represents a decline from 30-million shares, or 62% of CF shares, disclosed by Agrium in November.
CF said in December that “Agrium's offer is further away from being compelling than it ever has been”.
Although of majority of CF's shares were tendered into Agrium's offer, CF's shareholder rights plan, or 'poison pill', makes it difficult for any takeover to succeed without the board's support.