Firmenich to acquire Senomyx, pioneer in taste innovation

Firmenich is set to acquire US biotechnology company, Senomyx, which uses proprietary taste science technologies to discover, develop and commercialise novel flavour ingredients and natural high-intensity sweeteners for the food and beverage industries.

The acquisition and a distribution deal should allow Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned company in the flavour and fragrance business, to expand its influence on the global flavours market, particularly high-intensity sweeteners.

The news comes in the same week in which Layn entered into a strategic agreement with Firmenich, capitalising on its leadership in the plant-based, high-potency sweetener industry.

The deal significantly increases Layn’s distribution reach and provides access to some of the best formulation expertise globally to develop Layn’s extensive sweetener portfolio further. You can read more on this here

Geneva-based Firmenich will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Senomyx for $1.50 per share in cash. This represents a premium of approximately 43 percent over Senomyx’s closing price on September 14, 2018.

Senomyx on July 26 had 48,338,277 total shares of common stock outstanding.

Following the successful completion of the tender offer, Firmenich will purchase all remaining shares not tendered in the tender offer through a second-step merger at the same price as to be paid to stockholders tendering their shares in the tender offer.

The companies expect to close the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Under its direct sales program, Senomyx sells its Complimyx brand flavour ingredients, Sweetmyx, Savorymyx, and Bittermyx, to flavour companies for use in a wide variety of foods and beverages.

In addition, Senomyx has partnerships with leading global food, beverage, and ingredient supply companies, which are currently marketing products that contain Senomyx’s flavour ingredients.

“Senomyx has established itself as a leader in taste innovation and a recognised pioneer in sweet, cooling and bitter solutions,” says Patrick Firmenich, chairman of Firmenich.

“Building on our long-term partnership spanning more than a decade, we look forward to welcoming Senomyx into Firmenich to lead in taste and nutrition.” 

“We are excited to be joining Firmenich,” states John Poyhonen, president and CEO of Senomyx. “Firmenich’s commitment to innovation and delivery of world-class commercialisation capabilities combined with our long-standing relationship makes this deal the ideal fit for our companies.

“We believe this merger will allow the Senomyx discoveries to reach their full potential.

“I would like to personally thank all our employees for their dedication and contributions in building a leading proprietary taste science technology platform that will benefit consumers around the globe well into the future.” 

Senomyx will be integrated into Firmenich’s North America R&D organisation and its products will be commercialised through its Taste Platform. 

Senomyx R&D operations will remain in San Diego, with a continued focus on “discovering and developing world-class flavour and sweetener solutions for the world’s greatest brands.”

Firmenich plans to “continuously advance Senomyx’s innovative pipeline of products and its discovery capabilities to shape the most differentiating natural taste solutions for its customers.

Innovation-driven and recognised for its world-class ingredient screening capabilities, Senomyx recently identified and has started to develop a high intensity and a clean tasting sweetener, Siratose, which naturally occurs in monk fruit, the company notes.

This is particularly interesting in light of the Layn partnership, indicating strong correlation opportunities around this natural sweetener. 

Earlier this year, Firmenich launched its Natural and Clean Label platform to create “great tasting, natural and traceable food and beverage experiences”. You can read more on this here.

The move comes in light of several recent business deals at major flavour houses, with Givaudan having now taken control of Naturex and IFF on the verge of completing their takeover of Frutarom.


Related reading:

Senomyx unveils ‘natural’ sweetener breakthrough