Glencore eyes deal as Viterra opens its books

CANADA’S largest grain handler, Viterra, said yesterday it has opened its books to potential buyers, setting the stage for a possible bidding war and sending its shares 10 per cent higher.

Viterra said it has established a process for considering expressions of interest, including confidentiality agreements.

It shed no light on who might bid, but a person familiar with the matter said that Swiss-based Glencore and US-based Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland were involved in the auction.

“This is a public company, it won’t take that long to resolve an outcome,” the person said.

Another person said that Glencore made a very strong case to support an acquisition. “They have given a lot of thought to this. They are very motivated,” the second source said.

Reports indicated Glencore was teaming up with two Canadian companies, grain handler Richardson International and fertilizer company Agrium on a joint bid.

A Richardson spokeswoman said the company would not comment on speculation, while ADM and Bunge declined to comment. An Agrium spokesperson could not be immediately reached.