Massive Cargill, CHS Joint Venture Won’t Be Based In MN

Plans call for the proposed Ardent Mills company to be headquartered in Denver, although there are also plans for satellite offices in Minneapolis and Omaha.

Massive Cargill, CHS Joint Venture Won’t Be Based In MN

Two of the three companies behind a massive joint venture hail from Minnesota—but the company they hope to create together will be located elsewhere.

Wayzata-based Cargill, Inc., and Inver Grove Heights-based CHS, Inc., joined forces with Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra Foods, Inc., in March to announce plans for combining their North American flour-milling businesses into a new multibillion-dollar joint venture called Ardent Mills.

The three industry giants announced this week, however, that Ardent Mills will be headquartered in the Denver area.

It appears one reason for selecting that location is government aid: The companies said their plan to be located in Denver is “contingent upon final application and approval of state and local incentives.”

The companies said they expect the formation of the new venture to be completed later this year following necessary regulatory clearances and other conditions. (News surfaced earlier this month that the proposed deal, which would reportedly control about one-third of the nation's milling capacity, has drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which is concerned the venture might stifle competition.)

Cargill, CHS, and ConAgra said they have not selected a specific location for the Denver headquarters, but “the new company is expected to have a presence in the Denver area starting in 2014.”

“Selecting the Denver area as the home for Ardent Mills will allow us to offer great quality of life for employees, provide excellent service to our customers, and position the business for long-term growth,” Dan Dye, who is expected to lead Ardent Mills as CEO, said in a statement.

Dye currently serves as president of Horizon Milling, a joint venture between Cargill and CHS that was formed in 2002.

While plans call for establishing Ardent Mills’ headquarters in Denver, the companies involved in the venture said it will operate satellite offices in Minneapolis and Omaha.

The companies said they don’t plan to make staffing changes related to the Ardent Mills venture until that new business is officially formed.

Under the terms of the planned deal, Cargill and ConAgra Foods will each own a 44 percent stake in the new venture, while CHS will own 12 percent.

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