UPDATE 2-Controlling family of Gruma wants to buy ADM's stake

Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:48pm EST

Related Topics

* Family wants to buy ADM's stake in Mexico's Gruma

* ADM previously agreed to sell stake to businessman

* Bid for 23 pct stake in Gruma worth around $400 mln

MEXICO CITY, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The controlling family of Mexican corn flour processor Gruma plans to match a bid from businessman Fernando Chico Pardo to buy a 23 percent stake in the company currently held by U.S. agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland.

A spokesman for Carlos Hank Gonzalez, a grandson of Gruma's late founder, Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, told Reuters on Thursday that the family is putting together a financial plan to match Chico Pardo's offer.

"This is a transaction of around $400 million. A financial package (to fund the stake purchase) is being put together by all the family," spokesman Fernando Solis said.

He said that while Chico Pardo moved faster, the family - which controls 50.05 percent of the company's stock, according to Thomson Reuters data - has the first right to acquire the stake held by ADM, one of the world's largest processors and traders of grains.

Last month, ADM reached a preliminary deal to sell its stake in Gruma to Chico Pardo, chairman of the board of Mexican airport operator Asur.

Gonzalez Barrera, also chairman emeritus of financial group Banorte, died in late August at the age 81.

Considered one of the country's business leaders, Gonzalez Barrera also served as chairman of the board of Gruma, a global company with operations spread across Latin America, the United States, Europe and Asia.

Gruma shares, which shot to an all-time high of 42.10 pesos a day after Chico Pardo's bid was made public, erased modest gains to end down 0.14 percent at 36.30 pesos on Thursday.

Jackie Anderson, from ADM's media relations, said in an e-mail to Reuters that the company did not have any further comments. Chico Pardo could not be immediately reached.

ADM's preliminary deal with the Mexican businessman is non-binding, subject to negotiation of a definitive agreement, and approval by ADM's and Gruma's boards of directors. It also requires regulatory approvals.

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