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A 2007 file photo of the unveiling of the name of the new company, Viterra.TROY FLEECE

It looks like any cautious approach on Viterra Inc. is out of place. The shares surged to $16 on Thursday, up more than 9 per cent, after a morning trading halt was lifted and the company released an update on those "expressions of interest" it mentioned last week. Hopes for the name of a suitor and perhaps a bid weren't met: The Canadian grain handler merely said that a "process has been established by the Board of Directors of Viterra, which includes confidentiality agreements being entered into and the provision of due diligence."

Still, investors can smell a deal here – and a report from dealReporter that Viterra is looking at a price of $16 a share just to allow a potential suitor to get a glimpse of its books is apparently being taken seriously, given the stock's current price. Since Viterra acknowledged last Friday that it was a takeover target, the shares have jumped more than 45 per cent, to a record high.

However, someone at Viterra is trying to downplay expectations. Its statement on Thursday warned: "Viterra is aware of press reports speculating about, among other things, the process, parties involved and third parties expressions of interest of at least Cdn$16 per Viterra common share. Viterra cautions investors not to rely on these press reports as there can be no assurance that a transaction will occur and that if one does occur, there can be no assurance at what price it will be completed."

You can see the full statement here.

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