Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) is nearing a 2.5 billion-euro ($3.4 billion) agreement to buy Wild Flavors GmbH, a maker of natural food ingredients backed by KKR & Co., people familiar with the matter said.
ADM outbid Japanese rival Ajinomoto Co. (2802) for the privately owned maker of the Capri Sun juice drink and natural flavorings for beverage and food, the people said, asking not to be named as the matter isn’t public. While a deal may be announced in coming days, a final decision hasn’t been made, they said.
The takeover would help the world’s top corn crusher diversify away from grain processing and gain a bigger foothold in overseas markets for food and beverages made with more natural raw materials. It would be the biggest acquisition for ADM, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Wild Flavors, which competes with Germany’s Symrise AG and Switzerland’s Givaudan SA, has manufacturing sites across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. In 1951, the Zug, Switzerland-based company introduced Libella, the first carbonated juice drink in Germany based only on natural ingredients.
Ajinomoto still holds up hopes of winning the bidding after being told a final decision hasn’t been made, two of the people said.
Wild Flavors had sales of 838 million euros in 2012, according to its website. New York-based KKR, run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, bought a stake in 2010 and now owns 35 percent, according to KKR’s website. Hans-Peter Wild, son of founder Rudolf Wild, owns the rest.
In 2012, Wild Flavors bought the juice blends business of Cargill Inc., adding more than $200 million to its annual sales and a platform to grow in Asia and North America.
ADM, based in Decatur, Illinois, plans to invest more than 60 percent of its capital expenditures into assets outside the U.S., President and Chief Operating Officer Juan Luciano said in Lausanne, Switzerland in April.
“We are still underrepresented in the rest of the world,” he said at the time.
Jackie Anderson, a spokeswoman for ADM, declined to comment on the offer yesterday. Representatives for Wild Flavors and KKR couldn’t be reached for comment.
ADM rose 1 percent to $45.77 at the close in New York yesterday, the highest since April 2008. That values the company at about $30 billion.