Norwest Equity Partners Completes BASF Deal

Norwest Equity Partners has completed its $1.02 billion sale of Becker Underwood Inc. to BASF. The deal was announced in September, and closed on November 21.

Norwest Equity Partners (“NEP”), a leading middle market investment firm, has completed the sale of Becker Underwood Inc. (or the “Company”) to BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, headquartered in Germany. Becker Underwood is one of the leading global providers of technologies for biological seed treatment and seed treatment pigments and polymers. The Company also has an extended product portfolio in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings. The transaction, initially announced on September 20, 2012, closed on November 21, 2012.

Over the course of its eight-year investment period with Becker Underwood, NEP worked closely with Dr. Peter Innes, Becker Underwood CEO, and the management team to grow the Company into a global leader with a local presence. Becker Underwood sells products into more than 70 countries from 12 locations in nine countries on five continents. Since NEP’s 2004 investment, Becker Underwood has increased revenue and profitability four-fold, completed eight strategic add-on acquisitions, and doubled its number of employees across the world. Becker Underwood reported revenue of $246 million for the twelve month period ending September 30, 2012.

Tim DeVries, NEP Managing General Partner, stated, “Becker Underwood has done a tremendous job positioning itself as a value-added leader within the agricultural sector. This has been achieved through strong leadership, a lot of hard work, and close collaboration with growers, distributors and leading seed and crop-protection companies. With the world’s continual rising crop demands, growers seek sustainable tools and technologies that will help them maximize their yields. Becker Underwood’s R&D efforts have helped create leading technology and products for growers around the world to use and succeed in the ever-changing agriculture environment.”

Dr. Innes stated, “From guidance on both organic and acquisitive growth strategies, operational insights, and the commitment of capital and global resources, NEP helped build us into a global leader and provider of innovative, biological solutions for a wide array of crops across multiple geographies. The firm has been instrumental to our success and helped position us for our successful sale to BASF. We tremendously value our partnership with NEP, and look forward to our next chapter as part of BASF.”

A majority of Becker Underwood’s business lines will join the newly-established global business management unit, Functional Crop Care, as part of BASF’s Crop Protection division. Within this new unit, BASF will merge its existing research, development and marketing activities in the areas of seed treatment, biological crop protection, plant health, as well as water and resource management with those of Becker Underwood. Becker Underwood’s animal nutrition business will be integrated into BASF’s Nutrition & Health division.

Headquartered in Ames, Iowa, Becker Underwood was founded 30 years ago in 1982. For more information, please visit

Greenhill & Co. served as financial advisor to Becker Underwood on this transaction.