Forage-seed developer Ceres Inc. on Friday announced it will be acquired by agriculture and food business Land O’ Lakes Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $17.2 million.
Land O’ Lakes of Arden Hills, Minn. — best known for its butter and Purina-brand pet foods — will be paying 40 cents a share for the Thousand Oaks biotech, which is an 81 percent premium to its June 16 closing price.
After the acquisition, Ceres will become a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes and an added asset to Land O’Lakes’ other subsidiary Forage Genetics International by bringing new foraging traits and technology to the company’s pipeline.
“Our shift away from bioenergy and Brazil and into forages has been highly successful to date, and is culminating now in this proposed merger transaction with a preeminent leader in forage crops,” Ceres’ Chief Executive Richard Hamilton said in a statement. “After evaluating strategic options, our board of directors has unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction, which represents a significant premium from recent trading levels, is in the best interest of the company and its stockholders, and will advance Ceres’ mission of making the production of meat and dairy more scalable and sustainable.”
Shares closed up 16 cents, or 73 percent, to 38 cents on the Nasdaq.