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Byline: Thomas Lee
May 19--Cargill Inc., a large Minnesota agriculture company, has purchased a 5.3 percent stake in Purina Mills Inc., according to a document the company filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange commission. The purchase sets the stage for what could become a bidding war for the St. Louis-based maker of animal feed.
Cargill's move comes as Purina Mills considers an acquisition offer from an unnamed suitor. Analysts had suspected Cargill to be a potential buyer, along with Land O'Lakes, a farmer-owned cooperative in Minnesota. Ed McMillan, a former Purina Mills president and chief executive, has also been mentioned as a candidate. …