Bayer hopes to close deal with Monsanto this spring by selling-off more of the company to BASF ( Farm Journal )

(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG agreed to sell more pieces of its agriculture business to BASF SE for as much as 1.7 billion euros ($2.1 billion) as it seeks to close its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto Co.

The move fulfills requirements set by European Union and other regulatory authorities for the Monsanto transaction, Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer said Thursday. BASF will gain Bayer’s vegetable seeds business, some seed treatments and research on wheat hybrids, herbicides and digital farming.

The German health and agriculture conglomerate had agreed in October to sell a 5.9 billion-euro package of field seeds and pesticide assets to BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company.

In March, Bayer said it was is in exclusive talks to add its vegetable seeds business to the operations it would sell to BASF. Earlier this month, Bayer altered the list of assets it intended to sell to its German rival, including saying it would divest digital agriculture assets to BASF instead of licensing a copy. The arrangement announced Thursday formalizes the agreement between the two companies, putting a price on the deal.

After DuPont Co. merged with Dow Chemical Co. last year and China National Chemical Corp. acquired Syngenta AG, the Bayer-Monsanto deal is the last of three big agricultural transactions that are reshaping global farming. BASF has largely stayed on the sidelines, and picking up Bayer’s forced asset sales is its best chance of building a fully integrated agricultural business, complete with everything from genetically modified crop seeds to specialty vegetables.

The businesses Bayer is selling to its competitor had combined sales of 2.2 billion euros last year and employ about 4,300 people, according to the statement. BASF promised to keep all permanent positions for at least three years after the deal closes.

The latest additions bring the value of business BASF is acquiring from Bayer to about 7.6 billion euros. Ludwigshafen-based BASF has said it will seek further additions so as not to be a distant No. 4 supplier in the segment.

Bayer repeated that it will complete the Monsanto deal by the end of the second quarter.


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