Say Hello to Big Seed

Written by on June 15, 2018

When Bayer swallows Monsanto, it will control a quarter of the world’s seed market

The past decade has seen an alarming rate of concentration in the U.S. seed market—the top six biotech chemical companies have been steadily buying up and acquiring smaller, independent seed companies. Within the past year, those six have further consolidated into three and now control an estimated two-thirds of the global pesticide and seed market.

Each merger had to be approved by anti-trust regulators, which have so far signed off on mergers between agri-chemical giants DuPont and Dow Chemical, as well as ChemChina and Syngenta. But this week saw the largest merger settlement in the Justice Department’s history. Bayer, the German producer of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, fertilizers, and biotech seeds, got final approval to seal a $66 billion deal to acquire seed-maker Monsanto. This merger consolidates control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market, creating the largest seed and crop chemicals company in the world.

The companies, both of which breed, distribute, and market genetically modified cotton, canola, and soybean seeds—and custom-tailor pesticides to pair with them—first announced this deal in September 2016. The E.U. approved the merger in March, but Bayer didn’t win regulatory approval to buy Monsanto in the U.S. until the company agreed to sell off some $9 billion in corporate assets—the largest such sale ever required by the Justice Department—to German chemical company BASF.

That process is expected to take two months. When it is over, Monsanto’s name—which has come to symbolize the controversies surrounding genetically engineered crops—will be retired, and the company’s products, including its flagship weedkiller, Roundup, will be sold under the Bayer name.

Source: Say Hello to Big Seed

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