Court approves Glencore's $6.1-billion takeover of Viterra

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CALGARY - Viterra says the $6.1-billion takeover of the Canadian agribusiness by European commodities giant Glencore PLC has been approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Viterra (TSX:VT) shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal earlier this week and the federal Competition Bureau has already indicated it doesn't plan to intervene.

The Calgary based company said 99.8 per cent of votes cast by Viterra shareholders were in favour of accepting the offer of $16.25 per share in cash from the Swiss commodities giant.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice handed down its ruling following a hearing Thursday.

Viterra says it expects the deal to close by the end of July, but adds that could change.

Viterra (TSX:VT) was formed several years ago after Saskatchewan Wheat Pool bought Agricore United. The company has since expanded beyond Canada.

Glencore approached Viterra in March as it was preparing to benefit from the end of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly on the marketing of wheat and barley in Western Canada.

The Glencore deal includes a side agreement that will see a large chunk of Viterra's business sold to two other Canadian companies.

Calgary-based Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) will pay $1.8 billion for the majority of Viterra's retail business.

Meanwhile, privately held Richardson International of Winnipeg will also acquire a 23 per cent share of Viterra's grain handling assets in Canada, plus other North American assets.

Glencore has also agreed to keep Viterra's North American head office in Regina.

A report by Informa Economics, commissioned by the Saskatchewan government, said the transaction is likely to improve Saskatchewan farmers' ability to export their crops worldwide and cement the province's reputation as being open for business.

But its says the deal raises some concerns about competition for crop nutrients such as nitrogen.

The effect on employment in the province is expected to be mixed and the impact on provincial coffers is expected to be modest.

Organizations: Glencore PLC, TSX, Ontario Superior Court Competition Bureau North American Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Agricore United Canadian Wheat Board Agrium Inc. Richardson International

Geographic location: CALGARY, Western Canada, Saskatchewan Winnipeg Regina

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