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Bayer acquires Monsanto for 66 billion dollars

Negotiations are over. The merger between Bayer and Monsanto will give life to a giant that will dominate the market of seeds and pesticides.

Monsanto has said yes. After 5 months of negotiations and hesitations, the US company has accepted Bayer’s offer of 66 billion dollars, debt included. So, the value of each share is now 128 dollars, up from Bayer’s previous offer of 127.50 dollars a share. In addition, the German pharmaceutical company has pledged to pay a 2-billion-dollar commission in case antitrust authorities block the huge operation. On 14 September, as reads the announcement published on Bayer’s website, Bayer and Monsanto announced that they signed a definitive merger agreement, which is expected to be closed by the end of 2017.

The negotiations between Bayer and Monsanto

It all started in May, when Bayer offered 62 billion dollars (122 dollars a share) in an all-cash transaction, unsuccessfully. In July, the German company offered 64 billion dollars (125 dollars a share), but Monsanto said no, once again. However, the pharmaceutical giant didn’t stop and its latest offer has been successful. To Monsanto’s shareholders, 128 dollars per share represent a 44-percent premium compared to Monsanto’s share price on May 9, the day before it made its first proposal. Bayer has declared that it wants to finance the operation with a combination of debt and equity. What’s left now is the approval of Monsanto’s shareholders and antitrust authorities.

Proteste contro Monsanto a Los Angeles, maggio 2015. Foto © ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Protests against Monsanto in Los Angeles, May 2015 © ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

A grim future for global agriculture

The hurdle represented by the antitrust authorities is anything but insignificant. Over the last few months experts have warned that a giant like “Bayersanto” could upset the world of agriculture. The agrochemical industry, which is worth 85 billion euros, is already controlled by a handful of players. And it is destined to become ever more oligopolistic, considering the ongoing negotiations for the mergers of Syngenta-Chemchina and Dow Chemical-DuPont. The merger between Bayer and Monsanto will give life to the world’s number one giant that will control 24 per cent of the market of pesticides and 29 per cent of that of seeds.

The future is still unclear, but some consequences are easy to be imagined, from the increase in prices (for both producers and consumers) and a decrease in the offer (and, as a result, biodiversity). Moreover, Bayer is likely to have already put its eyes on the world of GMOs, with the aim of “wiping out” the name of Monsanto, which has long been associated with GMOs, as an effective marketing choice.

 

Featured image © Roberto Pfeil/AFP/Getty Images

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