Bayer and Monsanto may Sell $2.5 Billion in Assets

13.03.2017 -

Bayer and Monsanto are now prepared to divest assets worth $2.5 billion in return for regulatory approval of their proposed merger, news agencies have reported. This is nearly a billion more than the maximum targeted when the $66 billion deal was announced in September 2016.

To start the auction process, Bayer's advisors are said to be planning to send out information packages this week to prospective bidders of the assets, which have been divided into three unspecified bundles. Private equity investors will also receive the packages, but most observers believe the market will continue to be dominated by large industrial players.

Bayer is seen ready to shed applications in soybean, cotton and canola seeds as well as LibertyLink-branded crops resistant to its glufosinate herbicide. Its Liberty brand was initially developed in the US, by Cargill, which sold the business to AgrEvo, a joint venture of the now defunct German companies Hoechst and Schering, and found its way into Bayer’s portfolio with the acquisition of Aventis CropScience.

BASF is seen as picking up some of the divested products, as a way to gain more muscle in agriculture without jumping on the M&A bandwagon. At the annual results press conference in Ludwigshafen in late February, presenting 2016 figures that saw a steep drop in its plant protection arm’s profitability, EO Kurt Bock said BASF sees no need for ”transformational acquisitions.” However, the ongoing consolidation wave in the industry could present attractive opportunities. He stressed again that the group has no plans to enter the seeds business.

In the past, Bayer has said it does not expect major hurdles to approval by worldwide regulatory authorities, as there is little overlap between its own and Monsanto’s portfolio.  At that company’s annual results conference in Leverkusen, CEO Werner Baumann said the Monsanto merger is on track to be completed by the end of this year.