Sensient Technologies Corporation have announced that it is halting negotiations with Paris-based Lesaffre et Compagnie regarding the sale of the company's Red Star Yeast division. The companies had signed a Letter of Intent in August for the proposed transaction.

Sensient called off talks when the companies could not agree on purchase terms after accounting for a restructuring in the deal designed to address concerns raised by the US Department of Justice. Under the new structure, Sensient agreed to maintain its minority ownership in the Minn-Dak Yeast Company, a small domestic yeast producer. When Lesaffre demanded not only adjustment for Minn-Dak, but additional revisions to the original deal, "we decided it would be best to resume discussions with other interested parties," said Sensient chairman, CEO and president Kenneth P. Manning.

"We will secure the best result for our shareholders and for Red Star Yeast," said Manning. "We are committed to our strategy of focusing on faster-growing markets in colours, flavours and fragrances. Divesting the yeast business is part of that strategy. Red Star Yeast is an excellent company, there are several potential buyers and we should be able to complete this transaction in the near future."