DuPont buys agriculture technology company

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North Korea threat; Fatal Rehoboth Beach house fire; Bruce Springsteen on Broadway 8/10/17

ill be one of three created through the nearly $150 billion Dow-DuPont merger. 

“Granular will strengthen the spinoff’s competitive position,” said Matt Arnold, an analyst with Edward Jones in St. Louis. “When it comes to agriculture technology, it is increasingly becoming a strategic imperative to have a broad offering to help farmers manage every element of their business.”

Some of the large agriculture industry players have snapped up start-up businesses in recent years. In 2013, Monsanto paid $930 million for The Climate Corp., a business that underwrites weather insurance for farmers. 

The acquisitions give agriculture companies more offerings and services to the farmers who are buying their seeds. 

“All of the crop companies are investing in this market and we don’t view these investments as much as profit drivers as more of a strong service offering that helps sell the seed and chemical operations.” 

The ability to offer different products and services could enable agriculture businesses to create a distinct identity for themselves in an increasingly shrinking market. Last year, five of the world’s six largest agriculture companies agreed to separate mergers.

Bayer has struck a deal to acquire Monsanto, and ChemChina, a Chinese company, is buying Syngenta. If all three mergers are approved, three businesses would control 62 percent of the world’s patented seeds and 24 percent of all pesticides.

DuPont’s agriculture business is slated to launch between 18 and 24 months after the merger is completed later this month. It will be one of three publicly-traded, independent companies created through the consolidation. 

A $12 billion specialty products spinoff that will be based in Delaware will also be created in the transaction along with a material sciences company. The material sciences company will be headquartered in Midland, Michigan, the hometown of Dow. 

The success of the agriculture company in Delaware is critical to helping to reduce the state’s jobless numbers, which outpace the nation. Delaware officials need the state-based spinoffs to grow and bring back some of the 1,700 high-paying research and science jobs DuPont cut last year. 

“The only thing Delaware can do is get on to the [spin off] phase and hope it goes as well as it can for the state,” Jim Butkiewicz, chairman of the University of Delaware’s Economics Department told The News Journal earlier this month.

Contact Jeff Mordock at (302) 324-2786, on Twitter @JeffMordockTNJ or jmordock@delawareonline.com.

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