Monsanto Gains Landec Properties, Adding Two More Seed Market Buys

In a blockbuster announcement by two companies well-known to no-tillers, Monsanto Company and Landec Corp. announced two separate deals that they say will make their products more available.

In the first agreement, Monsanto’s American Seeds Inc. acquires Fielder’s Choice Direct, Landec’s Monitcello, Ind.-based direct marketing and seed sales company. Fielder’s Choice is the nation’s largest telemarketer of seed corn. In the second deal, Monsanto receives a 5-year license agreement to become the sole sales and marketing agent for Landec’s Intellicoat seed coating technology for corn, oilseeds and cotton. Monsanto also has the option of buying out the Intellicoat technology later.

Monsanto paid $50 million for Fielder’s Choice, saying the newly acquired company would complement Monsanto’s existing dealer, retail and licensee distribution channels and further expand its reach to customers. Monsanto acquires Landec’s two seed brands, Fielder’s Choice Direct and Heartland Hybrids, as well as the Fielder’s Choice call center. Monsanto might be required to pay an additional $5 million, depending on Fielder’s Choice sales results through May 2007.

Intellicoat seed coating has been widely praised by no-tillers for the way it protects seeds and delays germination until the soil warms to the appropriate temperature, thus allowing for early planting in cool no-till soils.

The acquisitions reaffirm Monsanto’s commitment and growing strength in the seed market, where it has focused its efforts in recent years. Monsanto formed American Seeds in 2004 as a holding company for the regional, primarily corn and soybean seed companies it has been buying. Monsanto began shifting…

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