BASF to Buy Bayer Units for $7 Billion

FRANCE-AGRICULTURE-FEATURE

The 5.9-billion-euro ($7 billion) deal includes Bayer's glufosinate ammonium herbicide business, "essentially all" of its crop seeds units, and related research and development activities, the company said in a statement.

The European Commission said earlier this month that it would put on hold its competition probe of Bayer's US$66 billion mega-deal - the largest in German history - to take over controversial U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto, allowing the companies time to offer new information.

The move by Bayer is meant to alleviate regulatory concerns over its planned $57 billion purchase of Monsanto. After the closure of the planned Monsanto acquisition, Bayer will continue to be active in these same areas as a result of Monsanto's current programs, products and offerings.

The EU has opened an in-depth investigation into Bayer's proposed $66bn (£50bn) takeover of USA seeds group Monsanto over competition concerns.

It also noted that both firms have large market shares in vegetable seeds and several field crops where their products compete against one another.

Bayer Crop Science and BASF have significant operations in the Triangle.

The proceeds of the sale are to go toward partially refinancing the Monsanto bid. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals as well as the successful closing of Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto. The seeds businesses being divested include the global cotton seed business (excluding India and South Africa), the North American and European canola seed businesses and the soybean seed business. The transaction includes the transfer of relevant intellectual property and facilities, as well as more than 1,800 employees primarily in the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Belgium.

The deal "solves a puzzle for both sides, it's definitely a win-win scenario", although BASF was paying a "very high" price for "the biggest acquisition in its history", he said.

The acquisition complements BASF's crop protection business, strengthening the company's herbicide portfolio and marking its entry into the seed business with proprietary assets in key agricultural markets.

It could keep BASF in the running as it squares off against the three seed and agrichemical behemoths born of the spate of mega-mergers.

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