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Louis Dreyfus Struggling to Sell Minority Stake

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the widow of Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who passed away in 2009, is finding it challenging to sell a minority stake in commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC).

In May 2019, Louis-Dreyfus CEO Ian McIntosh revealed that the company was in talks with several regional partners and trading houses in Asia and emerging markets about a potential equity investment. Nearly a year later, sources close to the situation have said that private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds have expressed doubt of the value of a minority stake in LDC, saying to buy a stake in a rival without gaining control is questionable. After conducting talks with private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, and industry rivals, Louis Dreyfus’ long-time adviser Credit Suisse Group has not found an investor, due to Margarita Louis-Dreyfus’ reluctance to relinquish control of the company, and weak agricultural markets that are straining the company’s finances.

The value of Louis-Dreyfus Holding BV, the owner of LDC and Biosev SA, a struggling Brazilian sugar processor, fell from $4.9 billion at the end of 2017 to $4.1 billion by the end of 2018, according to filings.

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