Bayer Says EU Talks over Monsanto “Constructive”
Bayer’s talks with European Commission competition authorities about its plan to acquire US rival Monsanto have been good and “constructive” thus far, CEO Werner Baumann told journalists this week. Baumann said he is “confident” that the German group will be able to wrap up the deal by the end of this year, as planned.
The CEO said also that Bayer expects to be able to file for regulatory approval in Europe by the end of June, repeating earlier predictions that EU officials are likely to open an in-depth analysis into the plans for the mega merger that would create the world’s largest seeds and crop protection company.
In May, Bayer suggested it would be willing to divest its leading crop protection brand Liberty Link, which includes a herbicide and seeds, to comply with South Africa’s concerns. Authorities there feared concentration in the market for GM cotton seeds. Observers took the remarks to mean the group would shed the business globally, as its importance transcends the South African market.
South Africa has provisionally given thumbs up on the merger, becoming the first competition authority to do so. Altogether, Bayer and Monsanto are expected to have to sell assets worth about $2.5 billion to gain clearance in all global markets.