China National Chemical Corp. said Wednesday it had agreed to acquire Switzerland’s Syngenta, a global supplier of pesticides and seeds, for $43 billion in the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company.
Syngenta’s board has recommended that shareholders accept the offer of $465 per share along with a special dividend of 5 Swiss francs, or about $4.90, upon closing. The price represents a 22% premium to Syngenta’s closing price on Tuesday.
The company known as ChemChina will leave Syngenta’s headquarters and management in place.
“The transaction minimizes operational disruption; it is focused on growth globally, specifically in China and other emerging markets, and enables long-term investment in innovation,” Syngenta’s chairman Michel Demaré said in a news release.
Syngenta previously rebuffed the unsolicited advances of U.S. seed giant Monsanto, which last year offered as much as $47 billion for the company. At the time, Syngenta’s board said Monsanto’s bid did not account for the risk that regulators would scuttle the deal.
“The ChemChina deal will still probably face significant regulatory scrutiny, particularly in Europe and the United States,” the New York Times said. “But its structure offers Syngenta a degree of independence that was unlikely in a deal with Monsanto.”
The Times also noted that commodity prices have slumped since Monsanto made its play, “decreasing the chances of a big payday for Syngenta.”
Syngenta shares surged 7% in Zurich on Wednesday after the ChemChina bid was announced. They had already gained more than 3% a day earlier amid reports of the offer.
The chemical industry continues to consolidate, with titans Dow Chemical and DuPont two months ago making a $130 billion deal to create the world’s largest chemical company.
“For Syngenta, the deal holds the prospect of new capital and greater access to the huge China market, while for ChemChina, it gives the company access to Syngenta’s advanced biotechnology for developing seeds,” the Wall Street Journal said.
As CNN Money reports, Chinese companies have been involved in a flurry of global acquisitions since the start of this year. Before Wednesday, 64 deals had been announced for a total of $20 billion, compared with 51 deals worth $5.5 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to Dealogic.