A merger of the world’s biggest producers of seeds and pesticides may soon be in the making. Missouri-based Monsanto confirmed reports that it received a bid from Germany’s biggest drugs and chemicals firm Bayer.
US seed and pesticide giant Monsanto said Wednesday it had received a proposal from Bayer which was “unsolicited, non-binding,” but nevertheless reviewed by the company for “due diligence, regulatory approvals and other conditions.”
While the US company was assessing the offer, it said there was “no assurance” that any transaction would be “entered into or consummated.”
Bayer released its own statement on Thursday, briefly confirming that its executives had met with counterparts in their acquisition target to “privately discuss” a merger.
Neither statement specified a price tag for the deal. But a bid to acquire Monsanto, which has a market capitalization of $42 billion (37.4 billion euros), is likely to be worth more than ChemChina’s February deal to take over Swiss agrichemicals giant Syngenta for $43 billion. Monsanto itself tried to buy Syngenta last year.
The scale of a Bayer-Monsanto merger could face resistance from antitrust regulators.
Agricultural suppliers like Monsanto have been hit by low commodity prices, causing farmers to cut down on supply orders. The end of the first quarter saw Monsanto cut its earnings forecast for 2016.
jd/uhe (AFP, Reuters)