Syngenta officially acquired Goldsmith Seeds late Monday, adding yet another reputable brand under the company umbrella that continues to expand. Leaders of both companies assure little will change in how each operates and, if anything, Syngenta’s acquisition should take Goldsmith to the next level.
“This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit with Syngenta Flowers and it significantly increases our proprietary flower seed portfolio,” says Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta. “The Goldsmith family has built up a world-class breeding company with an outstanding reputation that is known for its consistent quality. This acquisition further strengthens our leadership position in the global flowers industry.”
Under the agreement, in which Syngenta paid $74 million on a cash and debt-free basis to acquire Goldsmith, names and faces are not expected to change. Joel Goldsmith will continue to act as president of Goldsmith Seeds, and the company will carry the same name it has since Glenn and Jane Goldsmith founded it 46 years ago.
“The name will survive,” Joel says. “At some point, they could choose to change that, but the plan is to utilize the name because they see a lot of value in what we’ve built. And I think there are some really good aspects to keeping things separate. I’m a believer that if you can have each of your business segments with an identity, that people know who you are and what you do, you’re better off.”
The decision to sell wasn’t an easy one. Syngenta actually initiated the discussions, Joel says, and the two parties talked on and off for a few years. Still, wholesale changes are not expected.
“This event will not change how we each fulfill this season’s orders,” Syngenta Flowers President Gary Falkenstein wrote in a letter to his customers. “Please continue to do business with Goldsmith Seeds and Syngenta Flowers, respectively, as you have in the past.”
A pair of Goldsmith customers we spoke to will do just that.
“If the Goldsmith people stay involved, which they indicated they would, I think the move is a good thing,” says Norm White, president of White’s Nursery and Greenhouses in Chesapeake, Va., whose history with Goldsmith dates back 30 years. “It gives them financial support to do things that they wanted to do but couldn’t. When you have a big company that has dollars to spend, it helps a lot for the little company that has those great ideas.”
Just look back on Syngenta’s acquisition of Fafard two years ago, White says. He expects that to act as a template for how Syngenta carries out its purchase of Goldsmith.
“So far, what Syngenta has done with Fafard has been fine,” he says. “I’ve been using Fafard for years, and it has not changed. Dr. (Hugh) Poole, (quality control and technical services director for Fafard), is still there and everything is running like it was before. The service has not changed.”
David Cuthbert, president of Cuthbert Greenhouse in Groveport, Ohio, agrees little will likely change. And he, too, points to Syngenta’s acquisition of Fafard as a reason to get excited for Goldsmith.
“I certainly think that Goldsmith being a part of Syngenta will help Syngenta continue to become a real partner in our business as a supplier of the entire line of products–vegetative cuttings, seed, soil, chemicals–needed to be successful,” Cuthbert says. “From my experience, (Syngenta’s) acquisitions have not caused any problems with our ability to obtain genetics, and they’ve made it easier to get input through a single point of contact that knows where to find the answers to our questions.”