WASHINGTON,. Bayer AG won US antitrust approval for its US$66 billion (RM262.6 billion) takeover of Monsanto Co, clearing the last major regulatory hurdle to forming the world’s biggest seed and agricultural-chemicals provider after a nearly two-year review.
The companies reached a settlement with the Justice Department that resolves the government’s concerns that the merger as initially structured would harm consumers and farmers, the US said in a statement yesterday. The agreement requires the sale of assets to BASF SE that Bayer has previously announced. The divestiture package is worth about US$9 billion, the largest in a US merger enforcement case, the government said.
“America’s farm system is of critical importance to our economy, to our food system, and to our way of life,” Makan Delrahim, the head of the department’s antitrust division, said on a call with reporters. “American farmers and consumers rely on head-to-head competition between Bayer and Monsanto.”
For Bayer, acquiring Monsanto is the last step in a corporate transformation as the 154-year-old company shed its plastics business and remade itself as a life-science company with equally-sized health and agriculture units. Once the deal goes through, three global behemoths will dominate the world’s agriculture industry, a prospect that has left farmers worried about the possibility of higher prices and less choice.