IFF and Kerry in Slugfest over DuPont’s Nutrition Unit?

10.12.2019 -

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is reportedly battling it out with Ireland's Kerry Group to acquire DuPont’s nutrition unit planned to be spun off and sold, possibly in a Reverse Morris Trust, essentially a tax-free merger with another company.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, the two companies are in a bidding war, a situation that has fueled a surge in DuPont’s stock price.

Kerry has long been considered the front runner (DSM of the Netherlands also has been mentioned as a potential bidder) for the business now estimated to be worth as much as $25 billion.  Bloomberg said IFF’S entry presents a challenge for the Irish dairy goods specialist, which has hopes of expanding into the food ingredients sector.

As part of a Reverse Morris Trust, DuPont would combine its nutrition unit with the bidder’s assets to form a new company, which in turn would be spun off to existing DuPont investors and shareholders.

Analysts suggest that the market will have to brace itself for a protracted bidding war. Citing people with knowledge of the discussion, Bloomberg said that while a winning bidder could emerge by the end of the year a Reverse Morris Trust procedure could take more than a year to complete.

The relevant activities with more than 10,000 employees focus on products ranging from sweeteners and emulsifiers to dairy cultures and dietary fibers, with particular strength in areas such as plant-based meats and probiotics.

With nutrition stripped out, the Wilmington, Delaware-based group’s portfolio would be left with materials for industries such as transportation, electronics and construction.