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Land O’Lakes completes Ceres acquisition

By   /   Monday, August 1st, 2016  /   Comments Off on Land O’Lakes completes Ceres acquisition

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A Ceres researcher shows off seed samples in a laboratory at the Thousand Oaks-based company.

A Ceres researcher shows off seed samples in a laboratory at the Thousand Oaks-based company.

Minneapolis-based Land O’Lakes completed its acquisition of Thousand Oaks-based ag-biotech company Ceres on Aug. 1.

On June 17, Land O’Lakes, an ag and food conglomerate that had $13 billion in sales in 2015, announced it would buy Ceres for $17.2 million.

For about two decades, Ceres had been devoted to developing biofuels using crops like sorghum, alfalfa and corn and invested heavily in repeated tests in Brazil. Last summer, Ceres switched its focus to developing traits for food crops instead.

Under the deal, Ceres will become part of Land O’Lakes subsidiary Forage Genetics International. Land O’Lakes will pay 40 cents per share for Ceres, which had been trading at 22 cents per share on June 16 before the deal was announced.

“Combining Ceres and FGI is a joining of complementary strengths and capabilities designed to accelerate the path to creating new forage solutions for farmers globally,” Land O’Lakes said in a news release.

Through Feb. 29, Ceres had lost $336.5 million in its 20-year history. The company also held five public offerings in the past five years as it struggled to stay afloat.

On July 5, three shareholders sued Ceres in state court in Los Angeles over the merger, alleging the company unfairly sold itself to Land O’Lakes. That case is currently in its early stages.

• Contact Philip Joens at [email protected]

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