GrainCorp takeover extended

US agribusiness giant gives shareholders more than two months extra to accept after failing to gain enough support.

United States agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Company has pushed back the deadline of its $3.4 billion takeover offer for GrainCorp (GNC) by more than two months, after failing to shore up enough shareholder support for the deal.

ADM today had only secured half the support needed for the tilt.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, the group said its offer to shareholders was to close on August 31 but the group has extended it to November 16.

As of August 20, GrainCorp had lifted its share in the target to 25.8% and said it had received acceptances from over 4,600 shareholders.

One condition of the deal is 50.1% minimum acceptance by shareholders.

"We continue to believe our offer is highly attractive and strongly believe it is in the best interests of shareholders, grain growers and the Australian agricultural economy," ADM said.

GrainCorp's board previously recommended shareholders accept the offer in the absence of a better proposal.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval from Australian and international government bodies.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed it will not oppose the bid, and ADM has gained clearances from regulators in the US, Europe, Japan, South Africa, Canada and South Korea.

The deal also needs regulatory approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Federal agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon has hinted his support of the deal, and GrainCorp's independent expert also endorsed the bid, saying a better offer was "relatively unlikely".

But Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce opposes the offer, while lobby group New South Wales Farmers has called for the federal government to block the deal on concerns it will erode competition and increase fees.

Under the deal's terms, GrainCorp shareholders will receive $13.20 per share, comprising a cash payment of $12.20 per share and dividends totalling $1.00 per share

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