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Crist has competition: U.S. Sugar has offer from another suitor

A Nashville-based owner of farmland announced today that it is preparing a hostile bid to buy out U.S. Sugar Corp., potentially dislodging Gov. Charlie Crist's plans to purchase the sugar giant's farming empire to save the Everglades.

The Lawrence Group, which made two previous offers to purchase Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar, said it has offered to buy the company for $300 per share. That offer would come to about $588 million -- significantly less than the $1.34 billion that state leaders have suggested paying for U.S. Sugar's 181,000 acres.

But The Lawrence Group argued that its offer would be a better deal for U.S. Sugar's shareholders, giving them a guaranteed price without any of the long-term uncertainties involved in the proposed deal with the state. The private bidder said it is appealing to the shareholders directly. Read more here.