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Syngenta announces bid for Devgen

NEW YORK (AP) -- Agrochemicals company Syngenta AG on Friday announced a 403 million euro ($523 million) takeover bid for the Devgen, a Belgian company that makes hybrid rice and technology for biological insect control.

The Swiss company said its bid is for all outstanding shares and warrants issued by Devgen; Syngenta offered 16 euros for each Devgen share.

Syngenta said the bid was recommended by Devgen's board of directors and is supported by a number of major shareholders who hold nearly half of all shares.

Jefferies analyst Lucy Watson noted that the deal should round out Syngenta's leading global rice position and enable "significant cross-selling opportunities" between its seed and chemicals platforms.

To complete the deal, a shareholder prospectus must be approved by the Belgian stock exchange, after which Syngenta can pursue shareholder acceptance. It will need to get acceptance by 80 percent of shareholders. The deal could close as early as the fourth quarter, Watson noted.

Watson said Syngenta has announced three acquisitions in the past month, with plans to spend a total of about $760 million. She said the deals appear consistent with the company's plans and kept her "Hold" rating.

Shares of Syngenta were up 6 cents at $73.87.