Bayer’s proposed Monsanto takeover gets ‘conditional’ green light from EU

The European Commission has conditionally approved Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto, manufacturer of the controversial pesticide Roundup, earlier today (Wednesday, March 20).

Hailed as a “major success and a significant milestone”, European approval hinges on a number of conditions for the German pharmaceutical giant.

Bayer claims to have now received approvals for the transaction from substantially more than half of the some 30 regulatory authorities, including those in Brazil and China.

The conditions set by the commission cover in particular the divestment of certain Bayer businesses, including:
  • the global field crop seeds business such as canola, cotton, and soybean (with minor exceptions restricted to the Asia region);
  • The R&D platform for hybrid wheat;
  • The global vegetable seeds business;
  • The global glufosinate ammonium business as well as certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe, predominantly for industrial use.

In addition, Monsanto’s global business with the nematicide NemaStrike must be divested.

The conditions also stipulate the transfer of three Bayer research projects in the area of non-selective herbicides and the granting of a license to Bayer’s digital farming portfolio. BASF is the intended purchaser of these assets.

“Receipt of the European Commission’s approval is a major success and a significant milestone,” said Bayer CEO Werner Baumann.

“Together with Monsanto, we want to help farmers across the world grow more nutritious food in a more sustainable way that benefits both consumers and the environment.”

The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals.

Bayer has stated that it and Monsanto are working closely with the authorities – including the Department of Justice in the US – with the goal of closing the transaction in the second quarter of 2018.