EU to Object to Dow/DuPont Merger

18.11.2016 -

Dow Chemical and DuPont expect to receive formal objections to their proposed $60 billion merger from EU antitrust authorities as soon as December, according to newswire Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the investigation, Bloomberg said regulators would send a statement next month listing their potential antitrust concerns. The merger is one of three pending major deals that could reshape the agrochemicals industry, including Bayer’s agreement to buy Monsanto and ChemChina’s purchase of Syngenta.

Alan Riley, a senior fellow at London-based think tank the Institute for Statecraft, told Bloomberg he thinks Dow-DuPont “is in much more trouble than the other two deals.” As both partners to the deal are funding R&D in the same fields, “there is a real issue of innovation loss from the deal that might be difficult to eliminate with guarantees to regulators promising good behaviour,” he said.

EU regulators have stopped their investigation into the Dow-Dupont deal twice after the companies failed to submit crucial data. They restarted their probe earlier this month and have set Feb. 28, 2017, as the new date to complete the investigation. The European Commission has concerns that the merger could reduction competition for crop protection and seeds as well as certain petrochemicals. It has dismissed concessions made in July as insufficient.

Last month, officials also opened an investigation into ChemChina’s bid for Syngenta, which should be completed by Mar. 15, 2017. Bayer has yet to file for EU approval to buy Monsanto. Both Dow and DuPont have said they are continuing to work constructively with the Commission to obtain clearance for their merger, which they expect to close in the first quarter of 2017. Several US states, including California, are scrutinizing this deal to determine how it will affect the country’s farmers. Fears are that prices may rise and competition will be reduced.