Land O'Lakes acquires biotechnology seed company

by Eric Schroeder
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Ceres, Inc. headquarters, Land O'Lakes
Ceres develops and markets seeds and traits to produce crops for animal feed and sugar.

ARDEN HILLS, MINN. — Land O'Lakes, Inc., a member-owned cooperative with operations that span the spectrum from farm production to consumer foods, has completed the acquisition of Ceres, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif. Ceres is an agricultural biotechnology company that develops and markets seeds and traits to produce crops for animal feed, sugar and other markets.

Land O’Lakes, through its Roman Merger Sub, Inc. subsidiary, acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Ceres in a transaction valued at approximately $17.2 million. The deal first was announced in mid-June.

Ceres’ advanced plant breeding and biotechnology platforms have broad application across multiple crops, including food, feed, fiber and fuel crops. The company markets its seed products under its Blade brand. The company also licenses its biotech traits and technology to other life science companies and organizations.

With the transaction now complete, Ceres will become part of Land O’Lakes’ forage business unit currently comprised of Forage Genetics International (FGI).

“The transaction brings new advanced plant breeding and biotechnology to FGI’s research and development pipeline, creates the potential to bring new forage traits to market faster and places the business in position to expand the portfolio to become a holistic forage provider to its customers,” Land O’Lakes said. “FGI has significant expertise in field testing, product development and regulatory approval of traits. Ceres has excelled in the discovery and laboratory testing of new forage traits. Combining Ceres and FGI is a joining of complementary strengths and capabilities designed to accelerate the path to creating new forage solutions for farmers globally.”

As a result of the completed acquisition, Ceres shares ceased trading prior to the open of market on Aug. 1, 2016 and will no longer be listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market. 

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