An image of who could be Morton Salt's new owner came a little more into focus this past week.
Meritage Group LP, an investment firm for the family of hedge fund investor James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, has partnered with U.S. salt producer Kissner for its bid to acquire Morton Salt, according to an Aug. 4 Reuters' article.
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Private equity investors Advent International, American Securities and Cerberus Capital Management also made it to the second round of the bidding to acquire the world's largest salt supplier, according to the report.
German K+S, owner of the Morton Salt brand, recently put its salt portfolio up for sale to reduce debt that had soared following an investment in a new Canadian potash mine. Insiders anticipate a deal to be inked by the end of 2020 and no later than first quarter 2021.
Kissner is owned by buyout group Stone Canyon Industries, which bought Kissner for $2 billion in April.
Elsewhere, in response to an analyst's question Compass Minerals' top exec stated they were not a contender for Morton Salt. When asked about the possibilities of absorbing all or parts of Morton Salt that K+S had placed up for sale, Compass President and CEO Kevin S. Crutchfield alluded to industry analysts that it was unlikely.
"I don't think there's any doubt from a Justice Department standpoint that the Morton asset is -- would be highly problematic for us. And I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out." Crutchfield said, according to a transcript of an Aug. 5 earnings call provided by The Motely Fool.
Crutchfield went on to add that an investment to grow its salt business was not out of the question if the right opportunity presented itself. In the meantime, it was continuing efforts to increase efficiencies and lower costs at its Goderich mine.
CLICK HERE to read the entire transcript.