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Agricultural giant focuses on remaining private

Cargill, the world's largest agricultural commodities trader, will sell its shares in fertiliser company Mosaic, in a move designed to ensure the company remains 100% privately owned.  

Founded nearly 150 years ago, the Minnesota-based company is still controlled by around 80 members of the Cargill and MacMillan families. The company said in a statement that the Mosaic transaction would help it accomplish the objective of "maintaining its status as a private company".

It also hopes to meet the "diversification and distribution needs of the charitable trusts and foundation", which was established after the death of Margaret Cargill, one of the largest shareholders of the company, and grand-daughter of the founder William Cargill.

Reports suggest that her trust was looking to sell their 17% stake in Cargill. But this sale is likely to be assuaged by the sell-off of Cargill shares in Mosaic.  

Cargill will exchange Mosaic shares with its shareholders, the trust and other third parties, for all or a portion of their Cargill stock, in a transaction worth $24.3 billion. Cargill has held majority stake in the fertiliser company since its founding in 2004. This deal will help Cargill improve its credit status, and would draw bidders towards Mosaic.

Cargill was started in 1865 by Will Cargill, who was later joined by his two brothers Sam and James.

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