Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said it will acquire Wild Flavors GmbH, a maker of natural food ingredients, for about 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) in cash in what will be the U.S. company’s biggest takeover.

Wild Flavors is being purchased from shareholders Hans- Peter Wild and funds affiliated with KKR & Co., Decatur, Illinois-based ADM said today in a statement. The buyer will also assume net debt of about 100 million euros.

ADM outbid Japan’s Ajinomoto Co. for the maker of flavorings for beverages and food, people familiar with the matter said last week. The takeover will help the world’s top corn crusher diversify away from grain processing and gain a bigger foothold in overseas markets for food and drink made with more natural raw materials.

“ADM and Wild Flavors will create one of the leading flavor and specialty ingredient companies in the world, with sales approaching $2.5 billion and significant room to grow,” ADM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz said in the statement.

The acquisition will deliver cost and revenue benefits of 100 million euros in three years, said the 61-year-old former Chevron Corp. executive.

ADM was little changed at $45.70 at 8 a.m. before the start of regular trading in New York.

Wild Flavors, which competes with Germany’s Symrise AG and Switzerland’s Givaudan SA, has production sites across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. The company provides flavorings, colors and ingredients to more than 3,000 customers in the food and beverage industries. Sales were 838 million euros in 2012 and are forecast to grow to about 1 billion euros this year, according to today’s statement.

Wild Flavors’ Capri Sun brand isn’t included in the deal, an ADM spokeswoman said. The juice drink will remain under the ownership of the Wild family.

“Food flavors is about soft commodities, so it’s a downstream arm to a commodities trading business,” said Adam Collins, an analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd. in London.

New York-based KKR, run by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, bought a stake in 2010 and now owns 35 percent of Wild Flavors, according to KKR’s website. Wild, whose father Rudolf Wild founded the company in 1931, owns the rest.

In 2012, Wild Flavors bought the juice blends business of Cargill Inc., adding more than $200 million to its annual sales and a platform to grow in Asia and North America.

ADM plans to invest more than 60 percent of its capital expenditures into assets outside the U.S., Chief Operating Officer Juan Luciano said in April.

“We are still underrepresented in the rest of the world,” he said at the time.

The deal announced today includes about 100 million euros of debt, giving it an enterprise value of about 2.3 billion euros. The takeover is expected to be completed by the year-end, subject to regulatory approvals.

Barclays Plc is acting as financial adviser to ADM, with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP providing legal advice.

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