Mon­santo agrees to Bayer deal

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By REUTERS in Chicago

Share­hold­ers of US seeds and agro­chem­i­cals com­pany Mon­santo Co ap­proved the com­pany’s $66 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion by Bayer AG on Tues­day, a deal that still re­quires reg­u­la­tory ap­proval to close as ex­pected in late 2017.

In­creased research and de­vel­op­ment spend­ing by the com­bined com­pa­nies and plans to de­velop a global seeds and biotech­nol­ogy hub in St. Louis fuel hopes reg­u­la­tors will not block the deal, which was agreed upon in Septem­ber, Mon­santo CEO Hugh Grant said.

“I think those au­gur well for the deal,” he said.

If the deal closes, it will cre­ate a com­pany com­mand­ing more than a quar­ter of the com­bined world mar­ket for seeds and pes­ti­cides in the fast-con­sol­i­dat­ing farm sup­plies in­dus­try.

Un­cer­tainty about whether US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump would stand in the way of large merg­ers af­ter tak­ing of­fice in Jan­uary has clouded the out­look of some deals. Trump vowed dur­ing his cam­paign to block AT&T Inc’s pur­chase of Time Warner Inc and look to break up Com­cast Corp’s deal to buy NBC Univer­sal, citing too much con­cen­tra­tion of power.

The pres­i­dent does not di­rectly de­cide if a merger is il­le­gal un­der an­titrust law. That is done by the Jus­tice Depart­ment or Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion, which di­vide up the work of as­sess­ing merg­ers. If one of them de­cides to stop a deal, it must con­vince a judge to agree.

Grant said he has not met with Trump or any of his tran­si­tion team and did not elab­o­rate on how the com­pany was work­ing to se­cure the deal.

The ac­qui­si­tion came af­ter a string of large merg­ers that have roiled the agribusi­ness sec­tor in the last year or so, in­clud­ing China Na­tional Chem­i­cal Corp’s pur­chase of Swiss chem­i­cals com­pany Syn­genta AG and a merger of Dow Chem­i­cal Co and DuPont.

BLOOMBERG

A worker ad­justs a strand of stak­ing twine as pa­prika plants grow inside a green­house op­er­ated by Sem­i­nis and De Ruite, the veg­etable seeds di­vi­sions of Mon­santo Co, in Bergschen­hoek, the Nether­lands.

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