Competition Bureau puts the brakes on La Coop’s proposed purchase of Cargill assets

In order to preserve competition in southwestern and central Ontario, the Competition Bureau has concluded La Coop fédérée’s (LCF) proposed purchase of Cargill’s Ontario grain business, retail crop inputs business, and 50 per cent equity interest in South West Ag Partners, Inc. may not proceed as presented.

LCF announced the deal with Cargill back in March of this year. As the purchase would be in a specific region in Ontario, the bureau found that the proposed transaction would likely “substantially lessen” competition in the retailing of crop inputs — specifically fertilizers and crop protection products.

Following the bureau review, LCF says it will instead sell Cargill’s retail locations at Alliston, Harrow, Tilbury, and Waterford to a purchaser “acceptable to the commissioner.”

“Agriculture is a critical part of the Canadian economy. This agreement with La Coop fédérée and Cargill will help maintain competitive prices and product choices for farmers in Ontario,” Matthew Boswell, interim commissioner of competition says in a news release.

The bureau will publish its full written decision on denying the purchase in the coming weeks.

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