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Bayer Seeks More Divestitures and Pushes Back Monsanto Deal | KRVN Radio

Bayer Seeks More Divestitures and Pushes Back Monsanto Deal

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) — Bayer is trimming its crop portfolio to help move its acquisition of Monsanto past regulatory obstacles in 2018.

“We have now also committed to divest our entire vegetable seed business,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a press conference on Bayer’s 2017 fiscal year earnings report. “Certain additional business activities of Bayer and Monsanto may also be sold or out-licensed.”

The final takeover of Monsanto, which is now valued at $62.5 billion, is likely to take longer than expected, Baumann added. Bayer had hoped to complete the deal in early 2018.

“Our goal now is to be able to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2018,” Baumann said. “This does not affect our expectation of a successful conclusion to the regulatory review, nor our conviction that this is the right step.”

Baumann did not indicate which company might buy its vegetable seed business, which operates under the brand name Nunhems and covers 1,200 different seed varieties for more than 25 vegetable crops.

This latest divestiture follows Bayer’s 2017 agreement to sell major portions of its cotton, canola and soybean seed businesses to BASF for nearly $7 billion, including the LibertyLink weed-control system.

These moves are designed to appease various regulatory authorities, such as the European Commission, which has pushed back the deal’s timeline considerably.

“In Europe, the EU Commission has repeatedly extended the examination deadline or halted the process in order to receive more information,” Baumann said. “Such measures are not unusual with a transaction of this magnitude. The examination period of the EU Commission currently will run through April 5.”

In the U.S., the Bayer-Monsanto deal received a green light in 2017 from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes mergers for national security issues. However, Bayer is still waiting on approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, Baumann said.

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