Influential hedge fund takes stake in Syngenta

Reuters — Hedge fund Paulson + Co. has taken a stake in Syngenta, and could push for the board of directors of the Swiss pesticide maker to accept a takeover offer from U.S. seed company Monsanto, people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, made a US$45 billion bid for Syngenta this spring that the Swiss company rejected. The U.S. company is still working on a deal and could decide to increase its bid.

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Paulson + Co, headed by billionaire John Paulson, became famous after betting that the U.S. housing bubble would burst. The people familiar with the matter asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Paulson has purchased shares of potential acquisition targets in the past in contested mergers such as that of drug companies Mylan NV and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Paulson + Co. was said to have started amassing its stake in June, one of the people said. Bloomberg LP reported Paulson’s stake earlier today.

Mike Stone is a Reuters correspondent covering mergers and acquisitions from New York City.

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