Bayer-Monsanto Deal may be Delayed
Bayer and Monsanto may have to extend the closing of their $66 billion merger beyond the end of this year, as regulatory approvals are taking longer than expected. The companies have insisted up to now that the deal is on track to close by year’s end.
Alongside the EU and the US, the merger partners’ respective home markets, approvals from other key markets such as Brazil and India are still outstanding. News agency reports quote industry sources as saying the two chemical and life sciences giants will meet soon to extend the closure date.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Bayer would have to pay Monsanto $2 billion in break-up fees if it fails to win the necessary regulatory clearances. In total, more than 30 regulatory agencies worldwide will have to approve.
In particular, the in-depth probe recently announced by the European Commission puts the previous timetable in question. The Commission said it had “preliminary concerns” that the deal, which would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company, “could reduce competition in a number of different markets resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation."
The EU sees risks especially in the market for herbicides, where Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup competes directly with Bayer's glufosinate-based Liberty brand as well as in canola seed and licensing of cotton-seed technology, where Monsanto is the market’s heavyweight.
According to reports, the US group has been leaning toward existing the cotton seeds business in certain markets, including India, but has not disclosed a potential buyer.