ChemChina Extends $43 Billion Syngenta Offer to July

  • Further extensions can be made until November, prospectus says
  • Companies await regulatory decisions in U.S. and elsewhere

China National Chemical Corp. extended its tender offer for Syngenta AG shares by more than a month as it waits for regulatory approval for its planned $43 billion takeover of the Swiss seed and pesticide maker.

State-owned ChemChina offered in February to buy Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta for $465 a share in cash plus a special dividend of five Swiss francs a share. The main offer period has been extended to July 18, with potential further extensions to be determined, CNAC Saturn, an arm of ChemChina, said in a statement Tuesday. The previous deadline was May 23.

ChemChina aims to complete the deal by the end of 2016 in what would be the biggest acquisition by a Chinese firm. While the transaction has to gain approval from antitrust authorities in Europe and elsewhere, the toughest scrutiny is expected to come from a U.S. national security panel called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to join the U.S. state panel that is reviewing the deal, Reuters said in a report Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Syngenta shares fell 0.8 percent to 391.40 francs as 4:55 p.m. in Zurich trading. The dollar-denominated ChemChina bid currently values the Swiss company at 459.91 francs when converted into local currency.

Since the deal was unveiled Feb. 3, the shares have traded below the offer price, with a widening of the spread indicating market pessimism that it will go through.

Until approval is granted, ChemChina may continue to extend the main offer period until Nov. 23, according to the prospectus. After this date, the Swiss Takeover Board would need to sign off on any further changes to the deadline. The deal requires at least 67 percent of Syngenta shares to be tendered in order for the transaction to be concluded.

The extension of the offer period relates to the expected time to obtain all relevant regulatory approvals and doesn’t reflect the number of shares already tendered, Syngenta spokesman Leandro Conti said by e-mail.

(Corrects spelling of China National Chemical Corp. in first paragraph.)
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