Monsanto Confirms it’s Still on the Prowl
After dropping its latest offer for Syngenta, worth upwards of $6 billion, three months ago Monsanto may be planning a fresh attempt to buy its Swiss rival or have another target in its crosshairs, CEO Brett Begemann has suggested. Speaking to journalists ahead of an investor day at the US group’s St Louis, Missouri, headquarters, Begemann told journalists the agribusiness giant is looking at several objects.
“We’re discussing every possible possibility, just like every other company is discussing,” the CEO said, repeated a phrase leveraged by almost every other company seeking to be non-committal. Begemann’s remarks came days after Syngenta rejected another takeover attempt – this time deflecting a $42 billion hostile bid by ChemChina. The rejection of the more lucrative Monsanto offer –the rival’s fourth altogether – and a sluggish business performance led to the resignation of Syngenta CEO Mike Mack in October, fueling rumors that the Swiss player might still be in the US group’s sights.
In the meantime, the agrochemicals and seeds markets are swimming with speculation over other possible cross-industry deals, with all of the giants – from Dow Chemical and DuPont of the US and Germany’s Bayer and BASF – thought to have cards in the game. Leveraging the same non-committal language as the Monsanto chief, Syngenta chairman Michel Demaré, told the UK business daily Financial Times in an interview that “everyone is talking to everyone else.” This, he said, is the consequence of Monsanto’s grab for his company, which has shaken the entire industry and made made other deals likely.
Opting to sidestep the spotlight, Bayer told the news agency Reuters its CropScience arm is an integral part of the group, which was newly reorganized after carving out and floating shares in its former engineering plastics business now trading as Covestro.