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Syngenta offer deadline extended as regulators probe deal

Extension comes amid heightened U.S. scrutiny of deal

Syngenta's Interaction Centre at Stein, Switzerland. (Syngenta.com)

Zurich | Reuters — The deadline for shareholders in Swiss pesticides maker Syngenta to accept a US$43 billion takeover bid from state-owned ChemChina has been extended to allow for some outstanding regulatory approvals, the company said Tuesday.

Syngenta said the offer will now run from May 24 to July 18.

“We don’t have all the regulatory approvals yet,” a Syngenta spokesman said, adding the company still expected the deal to close by year end.

ChemChina has previously said that the offer period, which initially would have expired on May 23, could be renewed several times for subsequent periods of up to 40 trading days.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to join the U.S. government panel that is reviewing the deal.

The move will subject the transaction to additional U.S. government scrutiny and comes after lawmakers called for USDA to be involved in the review so that the impact of the transaction on domestic food security could be better assessed.

Shares in Syngenta, which have traded at a discount to ChemChina’s offer of US$465 (455 Swiss francs) per share plus a special dividend of five francs, were 0.7 per cent lower at 390.7 francs at 1:55 p.m. GMT while the broader Swiss market slipped 0.4 per cent.

Switzerland-based traders said the discount would likely persist for now, given the delay.

Reporting for Reuters by Oliver Hirt and Rupert Pretterklieber; writing by Ludwig Burger.

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