DuPont says $6.4 billion Danisco takeover in the bag

COPENHAGEN/NEW YORK Mon May 16, 2011 5:03pm EDT

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COPENHAGEN/NEW YORK (Reuters) - DuPont (DD.N) has won its $6.4 billion battle for Danisco DCO.CO, with 92.2 percent of the Danish food ingredients maker's shares tendered in support of a deal.

Nearly half of DuPont's revenue now will come from food-related products, a big change for the company that invented nylon and supplied gunpowder for World War One.

That transition from the company's traditional chemical base is part of Chief Executive Ellen Kullman's plan to capitalize on rising global food demand.

Danisco makes dietary supplements that strengthen bones, reduce LDL cholesterol levels and relieve bloated bowels. It also engineers enzymes used for making beer and has a large biofuels business.

DuPont aggressively fought for Danisco since its friendly offer of 665 Danish crowns per share (about $126 per share) in January. Some shareholders scoffed at that price, forcing DuPont to raise its cash offer to 700 crowns last month.

DuPont needed at least 90 percent of Danisco shareholders to approve the deal. Up until Friday's deadline to tender, it appeared that DuPont would not reach that mark, meaning it would have to run Danisco as a majority shareholder on the NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen.

"It is positive for Danisco that the deal has now gone through," said Klaus Kehl, an analyst at the Danish bank Nykredit Markets. "The process had dragged out, and it is good that we now have a conclusion."

One uncertain factor was U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates. It built up a 10.02 percent stake in Danisco and rejected the offer of 665 crowns per share.

Elliott ended up accepting the final offer because the hedge fund saw it as good for all shareholders, according to a source familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak on the record.

"With an acceptance of slightly over 92 percent, this is the clearest possible conclusion to the bid process you could get," Danisco Chief Executive Tom Knutzen told Reuters.

DuPont said it has not decided whether it would keep the Danisco brand name, though there is historical precedence to indicate it will. After its acquisition of seed maker Pioneer in 1999, DuPont kept that brand name and operates it largely as an independent business.

Knutzen said that delisting would probably happen in June after a final general meeting of Danisco shareholders.

Danisco's shares, which had been suspended from trading before the market opened on Monday, were up 1 percent at 700 crowns in heavy volume.

DuPont's shares gained 0.7 percent to $53.29 in New York Stock Exchange trading on Monday.

The deal's successful closing could make other Danish companies acquisition targets, said Peter Moller, head of equity investments at Danish savings bank Spar Nord.

The most likely targets include wind turbine manufacturer Vestas (VWS.CO), electronics maker Bang & Olufsen (BO.CO), Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST) (SAS.CO), transport group DSV (DSV.CO), industrial group NKT Holding (NKT.CO) and hearing aid and headsets maker GN Store Nord (GN.CO), Moller said.

($1=5.280 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Mette Fraende and John Acher in Copenhagen, and Ernest Scheyder in New York. Additional reporting by Victoria Howley in London. Editing by Greg Mahlich, Maureen Bavdek and Robert MacMillan)

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