Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Monsanto acquisition closes on Thursday

St Louis—Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto finally closes this Thursday. And the worldwide brand name Monsanto will soon be known as Bayer.

The two companies have until August before they can start integrating the two corporations according to Bayer.

“We’re extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished as Monsanto, and are eager to continue to accelerate innovation in agriculture as we look forward to a future under Bayer,” Monsanto spokesperson Christi Dixon said.

But Dixon said Monsanto will continue as Monsanto for a while.

”There will be no branding changes at closing on Thursday," she said. "Monsanto will operate independently from Bayer for an interim period while Bayer completes the sale of some of its businesses to BASF. During this time, it will be business as usual for us, including our company name.”

Bayer Crop Science President Liam Condon was asked by reporters what brand name would go forward.

“We simply had a strong belief that the Bayer brand has very strong positive recognition,” said Condon.

The Justice Department approved the acquisition last week but with conditions, for instance, Bayer had to sell $9 billion in key assets to BASF. Bayer also had to sell its cotton, canola, soybean, and vegetable seed businesses and also its Liberty brand of herbicides along with its digital agriculture business and its Poncho/VOTiVO seed treatment franchise.

Bayer announced that it would be moving employees of its Crop Science division from Research Triangle Park, N.C., to St. Louis, where Monsanto has its headquarters. Condon said that process will probably take about a year. Idaho operations will continue in Soda Springs according to corporate officials.

But Condon said that “after we’re allowed to integrate, I would not expect any immediate short-term changes. We can afford to go a bit slower here as long as our customers don’t have a negative experience.”

The deal is valued at $63 billion, according to Bayer, based on the company’s offer to Monsanto of $128/share. “Bayer expects a positive contribution to core earnings per share starting in 2019,” the company said.

Condon also addressed criticism from farm groups that say the Bayer-Monsanto union and others recently approved – the DowDuPont merger and ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta – could result in less competition and higher input prices for farmers.

“DOJ went out of its way to make sure all competition issues were addressed,” Condon said, adding that he believes there will be strong competition from BASF and FMC Corp., both of which are picking up numerous new assets because of the deal. New players with new technologies are also emerging, Condon said,

“Competition will remain very, very vigorous, and pricing to the customer won’t suffer,” Condon said.

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