Our clients span the spectrum from closely-held family businesses to multinational corporations;
technology start-ups to large financial institutions; farmer-owned co-operatives to major food companies. Examples of past and present clients are below:
Verdant Advises Sakata Seed America in Two Vegetable Seed Acquisitions
Sakata Seed America, Inc. (”Sakata”) is the research, production and sales division of Sakata Seed Corporation. Sakata is headquartered in Morgan Hill, CA, with facilities that span the United States and include breeding stations in Salinas, California; Burlington, Washington; Woodland, California; and Fort Myers, Florida. Sakata strives to be an industry leader in seed innovation, quality, reliability and service offerings to meet consumer demands for delicious fruit and vegetables.
Lettuce Seed: Sakata had historically not participated in the large US lettuce seed market in order to more intently focus on other core crops, but more recently opted to explore entrance options. Instead of starting its own breeding program from scratch, Sakata saw an opportunity to fast-track an established position through the acquisition of an independently owned and operating lettuce program.
Pepper Seed: To further bolster its own prominent position in the global pepper seed market, Sakata desired to expand its germplasm base via acquisition. Sakata’s team already consisted of world-class breeders, and thus management’s focus was to acquire stand-alone genetics that fit well in both the high-value protected market in Mexico and more broadly on a global level.
In both cases, Sakata engaged Verdant to assist them with the growth of its vegetable seed business through acquisition. In close cooperation with Sakata, Verdant assisted in the target engagement, valuation, due diligence coordination, negotiation, and ultimately deal consummation.
In April 2020, Sakata announced that it had acquired Vanguard Seed, a Salinas-based lettuce seed company. This purchase allows Sakata to leverage synergies with its established broccoli products and will enable Sakata to grow its market reach in the vegetable seed space. In June 2020, it was announced that Sakata Seed America had acquired the blocky bell pepper breeding program from Danziger Seeds Ltd. The purchase entitles Sakata to all existing assets of Danziger’s blocky pepper breeding program and will further solidify Sakata’s position in the global pepper market.
“Sakata Seed has worked together with Verdant Partners for over 20 years. Verdant has helped Sakata with business development and most recently with acquisitions. The ability for the Verdant team to understand the particular objectives on the specific crops involved was a fast study but accomplished at a very high level. The Verdant team was very professional and timely in delivering the results that Sakata was striving for.."
- John Nelson, Vice President of Sakata Seed America
Verdant Assists Canadian Canola Breeding Company in Divestiture of Canola Breeding Assets
Cibus is a leading ag tech company that uses precision gene editing technologies to improve farming practice by bringing biological innovation to the seed. Its focus is input traits and agronomic traits, in the largest crops: canola, rice, soybean, corn and wheat, addressing the key areas of farming practice associated with controlling disease, weed, insects and climate stress. Advances in input traits are widely recognized as important elements of the global push to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and to building more sustainable, profitable and eco-friendly farming practices. The company has subsidiaries in Europe and North America and a research and development center in San Diego, California.
Cibus retained Verdant to identify and explore options to leverage its strong technology development position in conjunction with its Canadian based canola seed assets and business base.
Verdant looked at various options and discussed certain alternatives with various parties. At the conclusion of the process, Verdant recommended that Cibus pursue a transaction with Farmers Business Network. On October 29, 2020, it was announced that FBN Canada had completed its acquisition of the Canadian canola breeding program and pipeline of Cibus. In addition to purchasing the canola seed breeding assets of Cibus, this acquisition also provided FBN with a license to Cibus’s canola pod shatter reduction trait upon commercialization. This acquisition allows FBN to grow its presence in the canola seed market and remain on the cutting edge of breeding technologies.
“We were so pleased to complete the divestiture of our seed breeding assets to Farmers Business Network. As part of the strategic refocus, Cibus provided FBN with a license to its canola pod shatter reduction trait upon commercialization."
- Peter Beetham, CEO of Cibus Global, LLC
Verdant Assists Leading Agricultural Robotics Technology Company with Market Analysis & Valuation
EarthSense, Inc. (“EarthSense”) develops ultracompact, autonomous, teachable robots for crop breeders, scientists, and growers. EarthSense’s robots improve the quantity, accuracy, cost and speed of in-field plant trait data collection, especially for under-canopy traits that cannot be obtained by other technologies. EarthSense’s machine vision and machine learning based analytics seamlessly convert field data to specific, actionable information about plant-traits.
To facilitate its ongoing capital raise activities, EarthSense required third-party data findings and conclusions to affirm market opportunities and growth assumptions to be shared with investors. EarthSense engaged Verdant to conduct a thorough assessment of the global crop inputs research and field-testing markets, including independent investigations, market studies, and analyses.
To facilitate the preparation of the requested deliverables, including a comprehensive consulting report, data book, and presentation, Verdant utilized various sources of data and analysis, including public information, proprietary resources, market studies, and industry interviews. The resulting deliverables summarized and valued two distinct market subsets: 1) the value of the global crop inputs markets; 2) the research and field testing budgets for seed, crop protection, and biologicals. In addition to these deliverables, Verdant presented its findings to the Company as part of its service offering.
"Verdant's knowledge of the market and ability to deliver complex reporting in a concise and understandable report were immensely helpful for our objectives. I would highly recommend early stage technology companies to Verdant for strategy planning and transaction support."
- Chinmay Soman, Founder & CEO of EarthSense
Verdant Represents Argentine Seed Company to Establish its Presence in the U.S. Seed Market
GDM Seeds (“GDM”) is a leading soybean research, development and commercialization company with activities in all of the primary soybean producing regions of the world. Since 1982, GDM has been intensely focused on the development of soybean genetics, and today has an established research presence in fifteen countries. As a result, they are the leading provider of soybean genetics in the South American market and estimate that their genetics account for more than 20% of total global soybean production.
GDM engaged Verdant to assist them with the development of their North American strategy, which included a multi-pronged approach for the distribution of soybean genetics. As part of its strategy, GDM has established relationships with independent seed companies that market branded soybean seed products to growers across North America’s 100+ million acres that are dedicated to the crop each year. In addition to introducing its germplasm through a licensing model, GDM elected to adopt a branded marketing strategy that involved formally partnering with companies that possessed a strong regional presence, an in-depth knowledge of the market, and a keen awareness of growers’ preferences.
Upon the adoption of the second phase of the strategy co-developed between Verdant and GDM’s management team, Verdant leveraged its network of contacts in the target space to identify a subset of companies that met GDM’s strategic criteria. Introductory meetings were held with multiple target companies to better gauge the interest of parties and determine if there would be a cultural fit with GDM. After multiple face-to-face meetings, GDM found its ideal partner in Mustang Seeds, a family-owned marketer of corn, soybean, and cover crop seed products based in South Dakota.
“Through Mustang Seeds in-depth knowledge of the American producer and its vast distribution network, GDM will deliver the best genetics to the American farmer.”
– Ignacio Bartolome, U.S. and Canada Business Director for GDM Seeds
A Family Owned Seed Company Preserves Heritage; Business Sold to Two Family Owned Companies
Munson Hybrids had the distinct characteristic of being one of the only family owned and operated seed companies in the United States that had been through three instances of unrelated family ownership. After 19 successful years of ownership and operation, third-generation owners John and Holly Hennenfent decided that it was time to pass the torch to the next owner of their business. Without having children active in the business, no obvious internal solution existed, and consequently they decided to look to an external plan for business succession.
In April 2018, Munson Hybrids retained Verdant Partners to act as its exclusive financial advisor and transaction advisor in connection with the possible sale of the assets and business of the company. In response, Verdant Partners aggregated relevant market and company information, drafted marketing documents, and compiled a list of prospective acquirers of the company. The initial list included both multinational and regional strategic investors, as well as private equity firms that demonstrate a specific focus on agricultural investments. Verdant Partners’ deep knowledge of crop agriculture enabled them to approach target investors who demonstrated a fit with the culture and values of Munson, and who were also qualified financially to make an acquisition of this size.
On August 31, 2018, it was announced that Cornelius Seed acquired retail sales rights of Munson Hybrids in Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, while Legend Seeds acquired retail sales rights in Central Wisconsin. This dual-pronged approach proved to provide the optimal solution for the Hennenfents and their employees, as the transition from one family business to another was a natural fit.
"Both Cornelius Seed and Legend Seeds share our values: they are more focused in knowing a farmer’s fields than knowing the corporate boardroom. Verdant Partners led Holly and I through a process that was completely foreign to us. Without their expert guidance and industry experience, we would not have been able to successfully achieve our goals."
- John Hennenfent, President of Munson Hybrids