The world’s financial press is reporting that Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has approached Bunge to discuss a potential takeover, but neither company is commenting on the proposal.
The Financial Times, Reuters and Bloomberg all reported over the weekend that ADM is seeking talks with Bunge, the smallest of the world’s four major agribusinesses. Glencore had made a bid for Bunge in May 2017, but its overtures were rejected by the Bunge board.
An ADM and Bunge combination would create a business with similar scale to industry leader Cargill. It would also be largely complementary, marrying ADM’s North American presence with Bunge’s strength in South America, particularly Brazil.
ADM had full year 2016 revenues of $61.3 billion and Bunge $46.2bn (both are due to report 2017 financials in the next few weeks). A merger, subject to any divestments demanded by regulatory authorities, would bring a merged business close to Cargill’s $109.7bn turnover. Louis Dreyfus had 2016 revenues of $49.8m, while Glencore’s Agricultural Products division posted sales of $22bn in the same year.
Analysts believe ADM’s move could start an auction for Bunge, with the possibility of Glencore returning to the table and interest from outside parties such as COFCO International, the Chinese state owned trading house that acquired the Noble and Nidera trading houses in recent years, lifting its annual turnover to $35bn.