Bayer AG, the German agrochemical giant, is keen to acquire Monsanto, the St. Louis-based biochemical and seed company best known for its genetically modified seeds and companion herbicide marketed as Roundup.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Monsanto has released more information to Bayer ahead of a board meeting, and Bayer has upped its offer from $125 a share to $127.50 a share. There are reports Bayer has offered as much as $130 a share.
“[The] bid values Monsanto at over $65 billion, including debt,” reports the Journal. “The German drugs giant said the bid was contingent on a ‘negotiated transaction’ and that it couldn't assure an agreement.”
And Monsanto is reportedly moving toward Bayer with open arms, calling the discussion with Bayer “constructive.” Bayer says it's poised to increase its offer if necessary.
If the deal goes through, it would make the two companies the most powerful force in the growing genetically modified seed sector and companion herbicides and pesticides. Monsanto has long been the poster-brand for the anti-GMO movement with March Against Monsanto protests now an annual global event and other targeted attacks that point to the company as a clear threat to food and environmental security.
The move by Bayer comes after Monsanto made a bid to buy rival Syngenta in 2015, and BASF’s SE agrochemical division earlier this year. But decreasing crop prices have taken a toll on Monsanto’s profits, “making it vulnerable to a takeover,” Bloomberg explains.
“Buying Monsanto would give Bayer a company that’s both the world’s largest seed supplier and a pioneer of crop biotechnology,” Bloomberg adds. “The kind of genetically modified seeds that Monsanto started to commercialize two decades ago now account for the majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S.”
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GMO soy field image via Shutterstock