Bayer to Sell Selected Crop Science Businesses to BASF

13.10.2017 -

In a bid to allay competition fears over its pending purchase of Monsanto, Bayer has agreed to sell selected crop science businesses to BASF for €5.9 billion. The purchase is said to be BASF’s biggest in its history and means the German giant will enter the seed business for the first time.

“We are seizing the opportunity to purchase highly attractive assets in key row crops and markets. These businesses are an excellent match for BASF Group’s portfolio,” said Kurt Bock, chairman of BASF’s board of executive directors.

The assets include Bayer’s global glufosinate-ammonium non-selective herbicide business, commercialized under the Liberty, Basta and Finale brands, as well as its seed businesses for key row crops in select markets: canola hybrids sold in North America under the InVigor brand using LibertyLink trait technology; oilseed rape mainly in European markets; cotton in the Americas and Europe; and, soybean in the Americas.

The transaction also includes Bayer’s trait research and breeding capabilities for the crops and the LibertyLink trait and trademark. The sale does not include the cotton seed business in India and South Africa.

The businesses to be purchased by BASF posted sales of roughly €1.3 billion and EBITDA of around €385 million last year.

Speaking to British newspaper Financial Times, Bernstein analyst, Jeremy Redenius, said: “We see the sale as a bit of a win-win for both,” adding that Bayer’s move to offload essentially all of its field crop seeds businesses would go a long a way to meeting antitrust concerns.

BASF has committed to retain all staff, which amount to more than 1,800 in Germany, Belgium, US, Canada and Brazil, for at least three years after the deal concludes.

The transaction remains subject to the closing of Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto and approval by relevant authorities, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018. Bayer will use net proceeds from the sale to partially refinance its $66 billion merger with the US agrochemicals giant.