Bayer Seen as Potential Buyer for Syngenta Seeds

19.10.2015 -

Comments made by Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers in a talk with the UK business newspaper Financial Times have fueled speculation that the German group may be interested in picking up the vegetable seeds business Swiss rival Syngenta plans to sell.

In a move market watchers thought was designed to pacify shareholders who had advocated a takeover by Monsanto, Syngenta put the business up for sale in September. The US group earlier withdrew its $46 billion hostile bid amid opposition from the Swiss group’s management.

At the time, Syngenta said its intent was to “accelerate shareholder value creation through unlocking the considerable inherent worth in its global seeds portfolio boost stock market value.”

Analysts placed the selling price in a corridor between $1.6 billion and $2.5 billion.

Questioned by Financial Times about Bayer’s plans for using the nearly €1.5 billion proceeds from the sale of shares in Covestro, the former MaterialScience, Dekkers suggested that – following recent high-end deals on the Healthcare side – a next move could be to bolster the CropScience arm.

Bayer would be a buyer rather than a seller in any further shake-up of global agricultural assets after the collapse of the Monsanto-Syngenta deal, Dekkers remarked.

“We are very committed to our crop science business and have no intention of selling it,” the CEO told the newspaper. “The question then becomes do you want to add to it? And I would say, yes, if there are appropriate opportunities we would be interested.”

Dekkers said there was also potential for bolt-on acquisitions in the animal health business.