Germany-based Bayer says it is pushing back the expected date of closing its proposed $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co. and that it is prepared to make additional concessions – including selling its entire vegetable seed business – to win approval from antitrust authorities in the EU, the U.S. and elsewhere.
Bayer originally forecast the deal would close in the beginning of the year. “Our goal now is to be able to complete the transaction in the second quarter of 2018,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, said today. “This does not affect our expectation of a successful conclusion to the regulatory review, nor our conviction that this is the right step.”
Speaking at a news conference in Leverkusen, Germany, at which Bayer released earnings figures, Baumann noted that the pharmaceutical and chemicals giant had already agreed to sell parts of its crop science business to German chemicals group BASF.
“We have now also committed to divest our entire vegetable seed business,” Baumann said, adding that certain additional business activities of Bayer and Monsanto may also be out-licensed.
Bayer said it has now received approvals from more than half of the approximately 30 worldwide authorities needed to complete the merger.
“Only recently, the Brazilian antitrust authorities gave the green light,” Baumann said. “That is an important milestone on the road to closing this transaction. After all, Brazil is one of the world’s most important agricultural markets.”
Bayer’s financial results came in below analyst expectations. Fourth-quarter 2017 sales fell to 8.6 billion euros ($12.8 billion) from 8.8 billion euros in 2016. For the full year, Bayer group sales were unchanged at 35 billion euros.
While the company’s pharmaceuticals businesses, which account for about half of group sales, grew slightly for the full year, overall results were hurt by crop science and consumer health, which saw sales and earnings fall over the course of 2017.