Bayer-Monsanto deal gets approval of Competition Commission of India

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Bayer AG’s proposed buyout of Monsanto, a decision that helps it inch closer to the finish line. Post the due approvals, Monsanto will become a subsidiary of Bayer.

 The approval by the anti-trust regulator is, however, subject to compliance of certain modifications.

 The firms announced in September 2016 that Bayer would acquire Monsanto for $66 billion. Bayer’s business interests are in pharmaceuticals and crop sciences, while Monsanto is a global giant in seeds, biotechnology and herbicides.

On 5 January, CCI invited comments from the public on the proposed acquisition. “The commission is of the prima facie opinion that the proposed combination is likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition,” CCI said in an official statement.

 The EU last August initiated a probe into the Bayer-Monsanto deal, saying it would create the world’s largest pesticides and seeds firm and limit the number of competitors in Europe. Global businesses with significant interests in agriculture have seen a spate of mergers recently, which include Chinese state-owned chemical firm ChemChina’s takeover of Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta AG and the merger of American chemicals giant Dow Chemicals with DuPont last year.

Bayer’s move to combine its crop chemicals business—the world’s second largest after Syngenta AG—with Monsanto’s industry leading seeds business, is the latest in a series of major tie-ups in the agrochemicals sector.

 The German company is aiming to create a one-stop shop for seeds, crop chemicals and computer-aided services to farmers. That was also the idea behind Monsanto’s swoop on Syngenta last year, which the Swiss company fended off, only to agree later to a takeover by China’s state-owned ChemChina.

 The Bayer-Monsanto deal will be the largest ever involving a German buyer, beating Daimler’s tie-up with Chrysler in 1998, which valued the US carmaker at more than $40 billion.

 It will also be the largest all-cash transaction on record, ahead of brewer InBev’s $60.4 billion offer for Anheuser-Busch in 2008.


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