Bayer files for Monsanto takeover approval with EU regulators

(Dave Bedard photo)

Frankfurt | Reuters — Bayer has filed a request for approval of its planned US$66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds company Monsanto with European Union regulators, as suitors line up for assets that Bayer will sell to get the approval by year-end.

Bayer, which is bracing for the EU Commission to go into an in-depth antitrust assessment of the merger, said in a statement on Friday it would work closely with the authorities, reaffirming its goal to wrap up the transaction by the end of 2017.

“We can confirm receipt of the notification. The provisional deadline for the Commission to take a decision is 7 August,” an EU Commission spokeswoman said.

Bayer, whose request for U.S. approval is pending, last month pledged to make major asset sales to see the deal through, putting the Liberty herbicide and LibertyLink-branded seeds businesses on the auction block.

BASF said it was hoping for a bargain among antitrust-related selloffs and might overcome its traditional reluctance to expand into the seeds industry, while Switzerland’s Syngenta is keen to bolster its sub-scale seeds operations.

Bayer warned on Friday it would have to adjust its full-year outlook, citing high inventory levels at crop protection customers in Brazil and a weaker-than-expected consumer health business.

Reporting for Reuters by Patricia Weiss and Foo Yun Chee; writing by Ludwig Burger.

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