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Bayer seeks to plant seeds with BASF to win Monsanto

Published on March 07, 2018

German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant BASF said Wednesday it was in "exclusive talks" to buy Bayer's vegetable seed business as the latter chases approval for a mega-merger with US peer Monsanto.

“Bayer intends to divest this business in the context of its planned acquisition of Monsanto,” BASF said in a statement.

Wednesday’s announcement relates to the vegetable seeds business known as Nunhems, which brings in revenues of around 460 million euros ($571 million) per year with new varieties of staples like lettuce, carrots and tomatoes.

The unit would be the second chunk of Bayer’s agrichemical business destined for BASF if the European Commission approves the buyout of Monsanto, valued at around $62.5 billion.

BASF agreed last year to buy Bayer’s crop seeds and herbicides business for some 5.9 billion euros as part of concessions Bayer offered Brussels to allay competition fears.

Leverkusen-based Bayer is confident the Commission will green-light its deal after extending its scrutiny period to April 5.

“Through this and related moves, Bayer is confident of fully addressing all concerns of the European Commission,” the group said in a statement of its own.

Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said last month that if it receives the Commission’s go-ahead, the Monsanto deal could be completed sometime in the second quarter.