Bayer wins US approval for blockbuster Monsanto takeover

Bayer wins US approval for blockbuster Monsanto takeover

Bayer Monsanto
Combo of file photos show the logos of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer ((left) and Monsanto. (Patrik STOLLARZ, John THYS/AFP)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German chemicals firm Bayer said on Tuesday it had won conditional antitrust approval from the US Justice Department for its blockbuster takeover of US seeds and pesticide manufacturer Monsanto.

"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.

The German company has been chasing approval from antitrust regulators on both sides of the Atlantic ever since it launched the bid in September 2016.

The EU approved the buyout, which is to create the world's biggest integrated pesticide and seeds company, in March.

The deal was originally for US$66 billion, but subsequent divestment decisions mean it is now valued at around US$62.5 billion.

According to the US decision, the acquisition of Monsanto can happen as soon as planned divestments have been accomplished, Bayer said, adding this was likely within two months.

Bayer was previously told by competition authorities, including the European Commission, to sacrifice existing activities in seeds and pesticides worth €7.6 billion (US$8.8 billion) to homegrown rival BASF in exchange for approval of the Monsanto deal.

That means there will be less overlap and fewer savings when Bayer assumes the US firm's product range of genetically-modified seeds and compatible pesticides.

The EU Commission said separately on Tuesday that it had approved BASF as a suitable buyer for the assets.

Environmentalists are unhappy with the deal, fearing that it will give too much power to the world's leading manufacturers of GMOs and the controversial weedkiller glyphosate.

When launching the bid, Bayer said it would not introduce genetically modified crops in Europe.

Source: AFP/de