Helena Chemical Company Acquires St. Joseph Agri Services

Client Objective

Donnie Miller and Steve Pierce spent 26 years running St. Joseph Agri Services, a company that provides a wide range of agricultural products to farming operations throughout northwest Missouri. Miller and Pierce established a loyal customer base in the region by consistently providing dependable service and quality products.

Miller primarily handled the company’s financial management responsibilities while Pierce oversaw the production and mixing of fertilizer products and equipment maintenance. In addition to their ownership responsibilities, both owners were heavily involved with various community organizations such as the local Future Farmers of America chapter and 4-H Club, the Buchanan County Agri-Business Expo Center, and the county’s University of Missouri Extension Council.

By 2013, Miller and Pierce were ready to focus more on their roles within the community. Although they wanted to stay actively involved in St. Joe Ag, they felt that a new owner could share some of the daily management responsibilities and provide financial resources to help the company grow.


Miller and Pierce sought the help of Mariner Capital Advisors to find a suitable buyer for the company after hearing about our firm’s knowledge of the agriculture industry. Our team had recently sold a seed producer and distributor based in the Midwest and had performed valuations for several agricultural product companies in the past. From this experience, we had a keen understanding of the industry, as well as an existing list of potential strategic buyers. We refined this list to include only the most suitable buyers for St. Joe Ag and used our proprietary database and other third-party tools to find additional buyers.

To facilitate our marketing, we then developed a collection of multimedia tools, including a one-page blind prospectus, a confidential information memorandum, and a comprehensive marketing video highlighting the company’s products and services and future growth opportunities. We distributed introductory information about St. Joe Ag to nearly 400 strategic buyer candidates through a confidential marketing campaign, revealing the name of the company to prospective buyers only after they had submitted a confidentiality agreement. Dozens of buyer candidates showed interest in acquiring the company, including leading agricultural products supplier Helena Chemical Company.


Mariner Capital Advisors completed the sale of St. Joe Ag to Helena in November 2013. Helena, a supplier of agricultural chemicals, seeds, and fertilizers, has more than 350 sales locations across the country and wanted to add a strategic location in the region.

Miller and Pierce ultimately sold the company to Helena because the new owners could provide resources to help St. Joe Ag expand its customer base and product offering. Additionally, Helena planned to retain all of the company’s employees and would allow Miller and Pierce to remain actively involved in it. With Helena’s leadership and financial resources, Miller and Pierce could help ensure a smooth transition for their company while focusing more on their work within the community.

About St. Joseph Agri Services

FoxTrax Vehicle Tracking, Inc. is a software-as-a-service provider offering GPS-enhanced, web-based fleet management software. FoxTrax was founded in 2008 by Patrick Brannan and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

About Helena Chemical Company

Helena Chemical Company, based near Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the nation’s largest providers of agricultural chemicals, seeds, and fertilizers. The company is jointly owned by Japanese firm Marubeni Corporation and its subsidiary, Marubeni American Corporation, which acquired Helena from Bayer in 1987. Currently, Helena employs 3,000 individuals across its 350+ U.S. sales locations.

This document is for informational use only and may be outdated and/or no longer applicable. Nothing in this publication is intended to constitute legal, tax, or investment advice. There is no guarantee that any claims made will come to pass. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but Mariner Capital Advisors does not warrant the accuracy of the information. Consult a financial, tax or legal professional for specific information related to your own situation.