BASF to buy seeds, herbicide businesses from Bayer for $7 bln

13 October, 2017, 23:54 | Author: Regina Silva
  • BASF the world's biggest chemicals company based in eastern Germany makes a bid to enter the genetically-modified seeds market. Patrick Pleul  AFP

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG has reached a $7 billion deal to sell parts of its Crop Science unit to German chemical company BASF to alleviate regulatory concerns over its planned takeover of USA seed and weed-killer company Monsanto Co.

"The assets to be sold include Bayer's global glufosinate-ammonium business and the related LibertyLink technology for herbicide tolerance, essentially all of the company's field crop seeds businesses, as well as respective research and development capabilities".

The deal is contingent upon the completion of Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto, but the takeover still faces scrutiny from European regulators.

Environmentalists and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic fear that the deal, which would create a global seeds and pesticides behemoth with annual revenues of around 23 billion euros and 140,000 employees, would give the combined firm too much power over the food chain.

The EU has opened an in-depth investigation into Bayer's proposed $66bn (£50bn) takeover of U.S. seeds group Monsanto over competition concerns. It will also strengthen the company's existing herbicide portfolio.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards refinancing the Monsanto bid. 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 Commission's in-depth investigation is ongoing and we can not prejudge its outcome at this stage", a spokesman for the Brussels authority said.

BASF said the agreed acquisition would expand its crop protection business and its biotechnology activities by a substantial seed business.

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BASF's purchase of the Bayer units will not go ahead unless the Monsanto deal is approved.

Under the agreement, more than 1,800 employees will be transferred to BASF, which has committed to maintaining all permanent positions for at least three years.

"For BASF it's a step towards an integrated agrochemical business, which they didn't have and didn't want until now", DZ bank analyst Peter Spengler told AFP.

The BASF deal, however, likely helps address that worry, among others.

Kurt Bock said that he was "seizing the opportunity" to purchase the assets in question.

In Germany, BASF shares were trading at 88.55 euros, down 0.85 percent.

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