German drugs giant Bayer has made a $62bn (£43bn) offer for Monsanto, in a deal that would create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier.
Bayer said the bid was an “extraordinary opportunity to create a global agriculture leader.”
Monsanto is primarily known for genetically modified crops, often leading to vocal activist criticism.
Last week, news of the deal angered Bayer investors, with one describing it as “arrogant empire-building”.
Bayer’s farm business produces seeds as well as compounds to kill weeds, bugs and fungus, but it is better known for its healthcare products such as Asprin and Alka-Seltzer.
Analysts said if the deal went through, almost half of the merged firms’ business would be agriculture, a mix likely to displease investors who had bought shares in Bayer for its pharmaceutical offering.
Bayer has a market value of about $90bn, making it the second-largest producer of crop chemicals after Syngenta.
Monsanto, which has a market capitalisation of $42bn, attempted to buy Swiss rival Syngenta last year.
However, Syngenta ended up accepting a $43bn offer from ChemChina in February, although that deal is still being reviewed by regulators in the US.
After the unsuccessful bid, Monsanto announced plans to cut 3,600 jobs by the end of next year in a massive restructuring.
Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto is expected to be bigger in value than the ChemChina-Syngenta deal.
The biggest merger in the chemicals industry took place late last year when Dow Chemical teamed up with Du Pont to form a new $130bn company.
Full article: Bayer’s Monsanto bid to create biggest agricultural supplier (BBC)