EU launches in-depth probe of Bayer's Monsanto merger
The European Commission has started an in-depth investigation into German firm Bayer's planned $66bn (€56bn) takeover of US seeds group Monsanto, saying it is worried about competition in pesticide and seeds markets.
The merger would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company, the Commission said, adding this limited the amount of competitors selling herbicides and vegetable seeds in Europe.
"The Commission has preliminary concerns that the proposed acquisition could reduce competition in a number of different markets resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation," the European Commission said in a statement.
Bayer said it still aimed to have the transaction approved by the end of the year.
"Bayer looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the Commission with a view to obtaining the Commission's approval," the company said in a statement.
Bayer had offered commitments aimed at easing the EU's antitrust concerns over the deal, but the company declined to say what was proposed.
If approved, the deal would be the third-largest tie-up in the agrochemicals sector - but other companies also had to offer concessions to win over regulators.
Dow secured regulatory clearance to acquire DuPont only after pledging to sell key research and development activities and other major assets.