NEW YORK - Bayer, the German drug and crop chemicals manufacturer has agreed a US$66m deal to purchase Monsanto, the US producer of seeds for cotton. The companies have agreed a US$128 per share deal, in doing so ending months of industry speculation, although it has long-since been assumed that the deal was a matter of when not if given the increasingly light-touch approach to major mergers and acquisitions by legislators in recent times. The combined company would be the world's largest seller of both seeds and agri-chemicals. While undoubtedly beneficial for those involved, there are many who feel the scale of the deal – provided it is pushed through the new company would command more than a quarter of the combined world market for seeds and pesticides – will be bad news, leading to higher prices and less investment in research and development.

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