The $62.5 billion Bayer-Monsanto mega-merger appears to have cleared a final major regulatory hurdle, with reports the US Justice Department has reached an agreement that will allow the merger to proceed.
The merger, two years in the making, marries Bayer and Monsanto into a single entity holding more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.
The Wall Street Journal reported overnight that the US Justice Department has reached an “agreement in principle” with the companies after they agreed to sell more assets.
European Union antitrust regulators approved the deal in March, after the companies agreed to sell some assets to German competitor BASF.
Reports suggest Bayer will sell off its soybean and cottonseed businesses as well as its glufosinate weedkiller, which is a direct competitor to Roundup, a central element of Monsanto’s business.
Regulators in China, Brazil and Australia have already approved the proposed merger.
The merger has triggered protests from some environmental and farming groups, which cite concerns about the new entity’s market power and the implications for future competition in the global crop genetics, data, biotechnology and chemical market.
Bayer has told media it intends to close the Monsanto purchase in the second quarter of 2018.
It is the third mega merger to appear in the global agricultural sector in recent years, following those of Dow and Dupont; and ChemChin and Syngenta.
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