No Deal for Nufarm

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A consortium led by China National Chemical Corp., or ChemChina, is pulling out of a takeover bid for agricultural chemicals company Nufarm Ltd., the Australian company said Monday.

The bid was worth as much as $2.6 billion. In addition to ChemChina, the bid involved U.S. private equity firms Blackstone Group and Fox Paine Management.

The takeover group launched its takeover proposal in early November and was granted a period to perform exclusive due diligence on Nufarm. That period expired Monday.

“The Consortium has advised Nufarm that it will be unable to formalise its proposal prior the expiry of the exclusivity period and, accordingly, discussions between Nufarm and the Consortium have ceased,” Nufarm said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Nufarm's shares fell 12.1 percent Monday in Australia to close at 14.70 Australian dollars ($12.88).

Nufarm is one of several agrochemical companies that have been targeted by private-equity firms as the industry undergoes consolidation. In October, the U.K.'s Permira Advisers LLP said it would buy Japan's Arysta Lifescience Corp. for about $2.2 billion from another private-equity firm, Olympus Capital Holdings Asia.

Flush with cash, Chinese companies are increasingly looking to expand beyond their country's borders. ChemChina, a state-owned petrochemical conglomerate, has total assets of over 100 billion Chinese yuan ($13.5 billion).