May 31, 2018U.S. gives OK for Bayer takeover of Monsanto following asset purge
Reuters reported May 29 Bayer (BAYGn.DE) won U.S. approval for its planned takeover of Monsanto (MON.N) after agreeing to sell about $9 billion in assets, clearing a major hurdle for the $62.5 billion deal that will create by far the largest seeds and pesticides maker.
Makan Delrahim, who heads the U.S. Justice Department’s (DoJ) Antitrust Division, said the asset sales agreed to by Bayer were the “largest ever divestiture ever required by the United States.”
A Bayer spokesman said the planned sale of businesses with 2.2 billion euros ($2.54 billion) in sales to BASF already agreed to address antitrust concerns, mainly in Europe, were not materially different from the DoJ’s demands.
“Receipt of the DOJ’s approval brings us close to our goal of creating a leading company in agriculture,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a statement.
According to Reuters, after months of delays in a drawn-out review process the ruling brings Bayer close to creating an agricultural supplies giant with sales of about 20 billion euros, based on 2017 figures, when taking into account the divestments.
Bayer’s move to combine its crop chemicals business, the world’s second-largest after Syngenta AG SYNN.S, with Monsanto’s industry-leading seeds business, is the latest in a series of major agrochemicals tie-ups. U.S. chemicals giants Dow Chemical DOW.N and DuPont merged in September 2017 and are now in the process of splitting into three units. In other consolidation in the sector, China’s state-owned ChemChina purchased Syngenta and two huge Canadian fertilizer producers merged to form a new company, now called Nutrien (NTR.TO). Bayer committed to selling its entire cotton, canola, soybean and vegetable seeds businesses and digital farming business, as well its Liberty herbicide, which competes with Monsanto’s Roundup.