German pharma giant Bayer bids to acquire Monsanto
German drug giant Bayer AG said Thursday that it is in talks to acquire US agriculture behemoth Monsanto, a tie-up that had been the subject of weeks of speculation.
“Bayer executives recently met with executives of Monsanto to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition of Monsanto Company,” the Leverkusen-based company said in a statement.
“The proposed combination would reinforce Bayer as a global innovation-driven Life Science company with leadership positions in its core segments, and would create a leading integrated agriculture business.”
The statement from Bayer followed one issued late Wednesday by the St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto.
“In response to recent media reports, Monsanto Company disclosed that it has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Bayer AG for a potential acquisition of Monsanto, subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals and other conditions,” Monsanto said.
Shares of the US-based agricultural giant Monsanto surged last week following news reports that it could receive a takeover bid from Bayer for $40 billion or more.
There was no mention in either statement about the dollar amount of the proposed deal.
Monsanto is a major manufacturer of agricultural seeds and herbicides.
Bayer said in its statement that the proposed merger would help establish it “as a global innovation-driven life science company with leadership positions in its core segments, and would create a leading integrated agriculture business”.
Agricultural suppliers like Monsanto have been pressured by low commodity prices that have caused farmers to cut orders for supplies. In March, Monsanto slashed its earnings forecast for 2016.
Sluggishness in the industry has also sparked deals such as a mega-merger between DuPont and Dow Chemical.
Switzerland’s Syngenta last year rejected an unsolicited offer from Monsanto, later agreeing to be bought by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion.