SWITZERLAND – The Swiss fragrance and flavour solutions company Firmenich has reached an agreement to acquire Senomyx Inc., an American based flavours and taste firm with the deal expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The merger agreement as approved by the boards of directors of both companies allows Firmenich to acquire   the merger agreement, Firmenich will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Senomyx for $1.50 per share in cash.

According to Firmenich, this builds on their long-term partnership in taste and nutrition with Senomyx, a market leader in taste innovation, and a pioneer in sweet, cooling and bitter solutions.

“Building on our world-class science and pioneering taste platform, this strategic acquisition confirms our commitment to being the partner of choice in taste and nutrition,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich.

“Adding Senomyx’s leading taste technologies and strong natural ingredients pipeline to our taste platform, uniquely positions us to create healthy and great tasting food, drink and oral care experiences for our customers.”

While Senomyx R&D operations will remain in San Diego, Firmenich is looking to advance product innovation and capabilities in developing natural taste solutions for customers.

This will be continued improvement on Senomyx’s portfolio, which was recently expanded through the development of a high intensity and a clean tasting sweetener, Siratose, which naturally occurs in Monk fruit.

On completion of the transaction, Senomyx will be integrated into Firmenich’s North America Research & Development (R&D) organization and its products commercialized through its Taste Platform.

Firmenich will then have the right to acquire 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.

However, the tender offer remains dependent on applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a minimum tender of a majority of outstanding Senomyx shares and other customary conditions.

The deal complements Firmenich’s proceed to widen its range of natural sweeteners and taste modulation extracts with the China-based sweeteners and botanicals firm, Layn Natural Ingredients deal.

The Geneva based company earlier this year launched its Natural and Clean Label platform to create great tasting, natural and traceable food and beverage experiences.

Such moves could mean a competitive edge for major flavour houses such as Givaudan who tapped into organic food segment by acquiring Naturex for US$1.6 billion.

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) on the other hand is completing the acquisition of the Israeli-based flavor and fragrance company Frutarom for US$7.1 billion.