ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, US — Investor group Argonautic Ventures Master SPC has submitted a preliminary, non-binding indication of interest to acquire all the outstanding shares of common stock of Benson Hill, Inc. that it does not already own. The investor group, which currently owns about 16% of Benson Hill’s outstanding shares, said it would pay $0.2236 per share, which would value the transaction at about $46.6 million based on approximately 212 million outstanding shares.

Benson Hill said its board of directors has formed a special committee of independent directors to review certain strategic alternatives. The committee will now “carefully evaluate” the indication of interest from Argonautic within the context of Benson Hill’s ongoing review of strategic alternatives, the company said.

“No assurance can be given that the Transaction Committee or the company will pursue a definitive transaction with respect to the indication of interest or any other potential transaction, or that any such transaction or other potential transaction will eventually be consummated,” Benson Hill said. “Benson Hill does not intend to make further announcements about any alternative that may be under evaluation unless and until Benson Hill’s board of directors and/or the Transaction Committee has approved a specific transaction or otherwise determines that further disclosure is appropriate or necessary.”

News of the potential acquisition sent Benson Hill’s stock price higher, closing at 17¢ per share on June 27, up from a close of 16¢ per share a day earlier and up from 15¢ per share two days earlier.

It has been a challenging past few years for Benson Hill, a food technology company that seeks to unlock genetic diversity in soy quality traits through a combination of its proprietary genetics, its AI-driven CropOS technology platform, and its Crop Accelerator. Founded in 2012, the company went public in 2021 with a goal of rapid growth. 

The company sold its Fresh business to IMG Enterprises for $21 million in 2023, a move that the company said would allow it to sharpen its focus on its Ingredient business segment. But high supply chain costs affected profitability in certain food ingredient categories. Over the past year, the company has exited ownership and operation of soy processing assets as part of a plan to reshape the organization and transition to an asset-light business licensing model with an expanded focus on animal feed markets.