Bayer wins US nod for Monsanto deal to create agriculture giant
Bayer won U.S. approval for its planned takeover of Monsanto 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 ($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.
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, based on 2017 figures, when taking into account the divestments.
At current foreign exchange rates, that compares to about €12.4 billion at DowDuPont’s Corteva Agriscience unit, €11 billion at ChemChina’s Syngenta and €7.9 billion at BASF, including businesses to be acquired.
Bayer’s move to combine its crop chemicals business, the world’s second-largest after Syngenta AG, with Monsanto’s industry-leading seeds business, is the latest in a series of major agrochemicals tie-ups.
U.S. chemicals giants Dow Chemical 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.