EU probes Bayer-Monsanto deal

Article by Neil Clark

The merger would form create the world’s largest integrated agri-business company

AN IN-DEPTH investigation has been launched by the EU Commission into German chemical giant Bayer’s US$66bn acquisition of US agriculture company Monsanto. 

The Commission has concerns that the merger, which would create the world’s largest integrated agribusiness company, may reduce competition in areas such as pesticides, seeds and “traits” – which are patented features of genetically-modified seeds.

Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said: “We need to ensure effective competition so that farmers can have access to innovative products, better quality and also purchase products at competitive prices, and at the same time maintain an environment where companies can innovate and invest in improved products.”

There are concerns that the transaction would take place in industries that already have restricted competitive markets. This is the third such ‘mega-mergers’ in recent years, with the antitrust watchdog already having imposed conditions upon mergers of Dow and Dupont and Syngenta and ChemChina.

The Commission is also wary of the deal leading to lower investment in new digital agriculture technologies, consisting of the collection of data and information with the aim of providing tailored advice or aggregated data to farmers.

Bayer has pledged to work constructively with the Commission, saying that the review was expected due to “the size and scope of the transaction”, and that it hopes to gain approval by the end of the year.

Article by Neil Clark

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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