Global agribusiness giant Bunge Limited announced the appointment of three new board directors and the formation of a strategic review committee to enhance long-term shareholder value.

The announcement on 31 October followed pressure from two activist investment firms, D E Shaw & Co and Continental Grain Co, for Bunge to improve operations, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The firms were not specifically pushing for a sale of Bunge but wanted it to explore all possible options to improve value, the WSJ said.

Bunge was subject to takeover proposals from commodity trader Glencore Plc and rival US agribusiness rival Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

ADM and Bunge are two of the ‘ABCD’ group of global agribusiness traders – which also include Cargill and Louis Dreyfus – that trade in commodity crops such as soyabeans, wehat and corn.

A period of low crop prices and high global supplies in the past few years had challenged these companies, forcing cost cuts and spurring consolidation talks, the WSJ said.

The three new Bunge board directors are Paul Fribourg, chairman and CEO of Continental Grain Company; Gregory Heckman, founding partner of Flatwater Partners; and Henry (‘Jay’) Winship, president of Pacific Point Capital, LLC. A fourth, mutually agreeable independent director would also be appointed by the end of this year.