Bayer to acquire Monsanto - what does this mean for sustainability?

Signal of change / Bayer to acquire Monsanto - what does this mean for sustainability?

By Gwyneth Marcelo / 07 Nov 2017

Updated on 7 Nov 2017:

EU resumes Bayer-Monsanto deal review; new deadline March 5

FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has resumed its antitrust review of Bayer's planned takeover of U.S. seed maker Monsanto after the companies were given time to provide more information. The new deadline for the Commission to decide over the deal is now March 5, the antitrust regulator said on Monday.



This signal was originally written on 29 Sep 2016

Bayer and Monsanto have announced that they signed a definitive agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for USD 128 per share in an all-cash transaction. Based on Monsanto’s closing share price on May 9, 2016, the day before Bayer’s first written proposal to Monsanto, the offer represents a premium of 44 percent to that price.

“We are pleased to announce the combination of our two great organizations. This represents a major step forward for our Crop Science business and reinforces Bayer’s leadership position as a global innovation driven Life Science company with leadership positions in its core segments, delivering substantial value to shareholders, our customers, employees and society at large,” said Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG.

So what?

This realizes the companies’ shared vision of integrated agricultural offerings, in order to deliver enhanced solutions for growers, and create a leading innovation engine for the next generation of farming. The combination brings together two different, but highly complementary businesses. The combined business will benefit from Monsanto’s leadership in Seeds & Traits and Climate Corporation platform along with Bayer’s broad Crop Protection product line across a comprehensive range of indications and crops in all key geographies. 

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This merger has been referred to by those in food security circles as "a marriage made in hell". It is part of a suite of mega-mergers in the ag world that could lead to 3 companies controlling 60% of the world's seeds and nearly 70% of ag chemicals and pesticides - see here for more on this It's not a given that the merger(s) will be allowed to proceed - for one we'd be approaching a near-monopoly that goes against free market principles; and overall it's a worrying degree of ownership and influence over agriculture at the global level, with implications for the politics, economics and philosophies of how we do agriculture and ultimately how we feed ourselves. Even if a company had the best of intentions, it surely could't be good from any perspective for one business to be so big and to own so much.
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Simple answer- a f disaster? Oh the entitled understanding conflicts of interest- much hilar!

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