Bayer, Monsanto confirm merger talks

By Stephen Davies

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 - Monsanto and Bayer have confirmed news reports that they are discussing a merger. In a statement issued Wednesday, Monsanto said its board of directors is reviewing “an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Bayer AG for a potential acquisition” of the company, but would not comment further until after the board has completed that review.

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Bayer, which is headquartered in Germany, followed today with its own statement, saying that executives from the two companies recently met privately to discuss a “negotiated acquisition of Monsanto Company” and that “the proposed combination … would create a leading integrated agriculture business.”

St. Louis-based Monsanto said “there is no assurance that any transaction will be entered into or consummated, or on what terms.”

However, the discussions between the two companies - which could create the world's biggest supplier of farm chemicals -- are certain to be watched closely in farm country, where many are already concerned about two other possible mergers.

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Dow Chemical and DuPont have proposed a merger, and Syngenta, which spurned offers from Monsanto last year, has agreed to be acquired by the China National Chemical Co. (ChemChina). Both the Dow-DuPont and Syngenta-ChemChina deals have yet to be approved by regulators.

Earlier this week, USDA agreed to join the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in reviewing the ChemChina-Syngenta deal.

A Bayer-Monsanto merger would create a company with combined annual revenues of about $67 billion. Monsanto's sales in fiscal 2015 (ending Aug. 31) were $15 billion. Bayer's were about $51.9 billion.

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