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Agrium extends its bid for UAP Holding again

CALGARY, Alberta Agricultural products company Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has extended its proposed $2.65 billion takeover bid for UAP Holding Corp. (Nasdaq:UAPH) until Feb. 25 as competition reviews continue in the United States and Canada.

CALGARY, Alberta Agricultural products company Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU) has extended its proposed $2.65 billion takeover bid for UAP Holding Corp. (Nasdaq:UAPH) until Feb. 25 as competition reviews continue in the United States and Canada.

The offer had been set to expire at midnight Jan. 18.

Agrium says the conditions to the bid have not been satisfied, in particular clearance under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust act and Canada's Competition Act.

Agrium says 35.8 million UAP shares have been tendered, about 68 percent of the total outstanding.

Agrium says it "remains confident of a successful close to the transaction."

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Agrium recently had extended the takeover offer by nine days after acquiring 85 percent of UAP because it had not yet received antitrust clearance.

In late December, Agrium gave U.S. regulators more time to consider the acquisition by Agrium. The company re-filed the initial notification and report form on its takeover submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

The UAP deal, which includes $487 million of assumed debt, follows the $590.5 million takeover of U.S. farm-supply provider Royster Clark in early 2006 as Agrium expanded from its established business of fertilizer production.

Agrium's $39-per-share cash offering for UAP is a premium of 30 percent over the last closing price before the deal was announced.

UAP has 265 proprietary and private-label brands and will more than double Agrium's seed business. It has 370 locations, which almost doubles Agrium's presence in the United States and gives it a new footprint in Southern regions.

The combined retail operation will have annual sales of more than $5.2 billion, and Agrium anticipates annual synergies of $115 million by 2010, with most of that captured in 2009.

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