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Regulatory concerns delays opening of joint venture

Regulatory concerns are said to be responsible for the delay of a new venture called Ardent Mills. However, it appears that this company will now begin operations by the end of this month.

Ardent Mills is a flour-milling joint venture that was created by ConAgra Foods Inc., CHS Inc. and Cargill Inc. The U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division had blocked the creation of Ardent Mills through a civil lawsuit. However, the department also proposed a settlement to the matter that would allow for Ardent Mills creation to go forward. To complete formation of this venture, the companies were required by the U.S. Justice Department to divest four of its flour mills.

The flour mills that are to be divested are located in southern California, northern California, Texas and the upper Midwest. However, both ConAgra and Cargill seemed confident that Ardent Mills formation would "enhance competition and customer and consumer choice." Though the companies had hoped to complete the formation of Ardent Mills during the first quarter of this year, regulatory delays pushed this back to the second quarter.

Regulatory entanglements for businesses should be avoided if at all possible because the ultimate delays cost the business money. Unfortunately it's not always clear to businesses whether regulatory concerns are even present.

Especially when dealing with an agency like the U.S. Justice Department, businesses need to make sure that everything is in order and that their interests can be solidly represented in business litigation and regulation matters. Attorneys can represent businesses through the course of negotiations and in hearings. Perhaps more importantly, attorneys can advise businesses on what course of action to take to minimize delays as much as possible.

 

Source: NASDAQ.com, "Ardent Mills Venture Seen Starting Soon," May 20, 2014

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