Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bayer clears European hurdle, awaiting U.S.

Bayer’s deal to purchase Monsanto has gained approval from the European Union, provided it sells more than $9.5 billion worth of divisions and companies.

It is still awaiting a ruling from the United States.

The $73.5 billion deal was announced Sept. 6.

There are reports that it will sell its seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture technology to BASF SE..

But Bloomberg News says Bayer and BASF “need to provide further evidence” of BASF’s ability and incentives to build the business into an important competitor in order for BASF to get approval to buy the more than 6 billion-euro ($9.5 billion Cdn) package, the EU said.

Without the remedies, EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the buyout would have significantly reduced competition in the market and hindered innovation.

The deal would create the world's largest pesticides and seeds company and therefore needed a large number of remedies to be approved, she said.

"We have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same," said Vestager.

"That is important because we need competition to ensure farmers have a choice of different seed varieties and pesticides at affordable prices."

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said that "the European Commission's approval is a major success and a significant milestone."

He said they hope to close the deal during the second quarter of 2018.