ADM acquisition of Graincorp blocked by treasurer

On 29 November 2013, the treasurer announced an order under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) blocking Archer Daniels Midland’s proposed acquisition of Graincorp on the basis that it is contrary to Australia’s national interest. The treasurer could have allowed the proposed acquisition to proceed with or without conditions but chose not to do so.

This is only the third large-scale merger and acquisitions transaction that has been publicly blocked by the treasurer in more than 12 years. The other previous prohibitions were Singapore Stock Exchange’s proposed acquisition of ASX Ltd in 2011 and Shell’s proposed acquisition of Woodside Petroleum in 2001. Most acquisitions that raise national interest concerns can be addressed through the requirement to adhere to conditions set by the government.

During this time, a number of transactions have been allowed to proceed, albeit subject to conditions to ensure they are consistent with the national interest — for example, FIRB’s conditional approval of the Shandong RuYi-led consortium’s acquisition of the Cubbie Station assets…

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