Bayer has agreed to sell off approximately $9 billion in businesses and assets to BASF in order to gain approval of its purchase of Monsanto, the Department of Justice announced today.
Under the terms of a proposed settlement filed in federal court, “Bayer must divest those Bayer businesses that compete with Monsanto today,” including its cotton, canola, soybean, and vegetable seed businesses, as well as its Liberty brand of herbicides, “a key competitor of Monsanto’s well-known Roundup herbicide,” DOJ said in a news release.
Bayer also must sell off what DOJ called its “nascent” digital agriculture business and its “successful Poncho/VOTiVO seed treatment franchise,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said on a conference call with reporters.
Monsanto and Bayer have both signed off on the proposed settlement, which will be subject to a 60-day comment period once the proposed approval is published in the Federal Register.
“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. “We want to help farmers across the world grow more nutritious food in a more sustainable way.” Bayer said it has now obtained nearly all the approvals it needs to close the deal and “expects to receive any outstanding approvals required for completing the transaction very shortly.”
In a statement, Monsanto said they are "pleased" with the DOJ's decision.
"Receiving approval from the DOJ after a robust regulatory review is another important step as we work to close the deal," the company said.
DOJ officials said the conditions for approval largely track those required by the European Commission, the European Union’s governing arm, which conditionally approved the union of the two companies in March.
At the time, however, the EC said Bayer and BASF needed to “provide further evidence . . . on BASF's ability and incentives to run and develop the divested business in order to replicate Bayer as an active competitor of the merged entity, and on possible overlaps in particular in trait and herbicide research.”
Last October, BASF agreed to buy “Bayer’s global glufosinate-ammonium non-selective herbicide business; seeds businesses for key row crops in select markets and trait research and breeding capabilities for these crops along with the LibertyLink trait and trademark,” BASF said.
But in April, BASF said it also had agreed to buy Bayer's digital farming business, as well as its entire vegetable seeds business, which operates under the Nunhems name; seed treatment products sold under the Poncho, VOTiVO, COPeO and ILeVO brands, and its R&D platform for hybrid wheat.
Bayer recently announced a new Executive Leadership Team for its Crop Science Division, naming Liam Condon president of the Crop Science Division.
“Bayer will become the sole shareholder of Monsanto Company following the receipt of outstanding approvals,” Bayer said today. “According to the DOJ’s conditional approval, the integration of Monsanto into Bayer can take place as soon as the divestments to BASF have been accomplished,” which are expected to be in about two months.
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