DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Agribusiness giant ADM will pay about $3 billion to buy the privately held Swiss company Wild Flavors, which supplies natural flavors and other ingredients to food and beverage makers.
The all-cash deal will total about $3.13 billion counting debt, or 2.3 billion euros.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. said Monday that the acquisition will let it enter one of the “largest and fastest growing consumer trends in both developed and emerging markets.” Already, ADM provides sweeteners and other ingredients for the beverage, meat and snack markets.
Natural and artificial flavors are listed as ingredients in a wide variety of packaged foods and drinks, although companies don’t disclose exactly what they contain. Such flavors help make Coke taste like Coke and Cheetos taste like Cheetos. Some of the biggest players in the industry include Givaudan, Firmenich, International Flavors & Fragrances, and Symrise.
Wild Flavors, founded in 1931, has production sites in Europe, the U.S., Asia and South America. Its estimated revenue for this year is about $1.36 billion, or 1 billion euros.
Ann Duignan, an analyst with J.P. Morgan, noted that the deal is intended to provide geographic diversification and lower earnings volatility for Archer Daniels Midland, which also processes corn, soybeans and other crops to make everything from animal feed to ethanol.
Duignan noted that ADM’s “foods and wellness” business accounts for about $1.5 billion of annual revenue and that management has said it wants to increase that to about $10 billion in the next decade. ADM’s total revenue last year was nearly $90 billion.
Wild is the last name of company chairman and owner Dr. Hans-Peter Wild, whose father founded the business. ADM will pay the purchase price to the owner and funds tied to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
Shares of ADM, based in Decatur, Illinois, closed at $45.77 last week, a new high point for the year and they are within striking distance of a new record, set just as the recession began, of $48.95. There were up 70 cents at $46.45 in afternoon trading.