By BridgeNews Land O' Lakes Inc. agreed to buy Purina Mills Inc. for $23 a share in cash. Under the agreement Purina Mills will become part of Land O' Lakes Farmland Feed LLC unit. Land O' Lakes President and CEO Jack Gherty said the acquisition makes sense in terms of both feed industry trends and the future of Land O' Lakes feed operations. Purina Mills will become part of Land O' Lakes Farmland Feed LLC following the acquisition. "We are bringing together well-recognized brands in different product categories, as well as complementary geography and product lines," Gherty said. "At the same time, we are building the economies of scale and critical mass necessary to compete nationally in the consolidating feed industry. This transaction clearly has positive implications for the long-term success of our farmer-owned feed system." The Purina Mills product lines, brands, nationwide dealer network, and checkerboard trademark logo will be maintained, Gherty said. The Purina Mills organization will continue to be based in St. Louis, Mo., with its own sales and marketing team. Land O'Lakes is headquartered in Arden Hills, Minn. The acquisition of Purina Mills by Land O'Lakes is subject to certain conditions, including approval by the shareholders of Purina Mills Inc. and receipt by Land O'Lakes of financing for the acquisition. Land O'Lakes was advised by, and has received a commitment for financing, subject to customary conditions, from JPMorgan. Land O'Lakes is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative, with annual sales approaching $6 billion. Purina Mills has 48 plants and approximately 2,300 employees nationwide.