Germany Said to Rule Out Buying Stake in Takeover Target K+S

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The German government isn’t planning to purchase a stake in potash supplier K+S AG to help block Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.’s 7.8 billion-euro ($8.6 billion) takeover offer, a person familiar with the matter said.

While the German Economy Ministry has spoken with K+S and Potash about securing jobs in the country, Germany doesn’t intend to have development bank KfW step in to buy a minority stake, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Buying a holding in the company would have in theory allowed the government to block a purchase, and newspaper Handelsblatt reported Wednesday that was one possible option being considered. A K+S spokesman declined to comment.

Lawmakers in Hesse, the state where K+S is based, last week voiced their support for K+S staying independent and keeping its headquarters in the city of Kassel. The Canadian company has said its offer isn’t predicated on closing mines, curtailing production, selling the German company’s salt business or cutting jobs.

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