Bayer snags EU’s antitrust approval for its $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto

While Bayer has already received approval from Brazil and conditional approval from China, its acquisition of its peer Monsanto is currently awaiting review by Russian and U.S antitrust authorities.

In the latest mega mergers that will reshape the agrochemicals industry, German conglomerate Bayer has won EU antitrust approval for its $62.5 billion acquisition of its U.S. peer Monsanto.

The development marks the creation of a conglomerate that will control more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.

Bayer sealed the deal and secured EU’s approval only after offering substantial sales in its assets.

Farming and environmental groups have opposed all the deals on worries on the power Bayer can yield and its advantage in digital farming data, which can tell farmers, when to till, spray, sow, fertilize and pick crops based on algorithms.

In a statement the European Commission said Bayer has addressed its concerns with its offer to sell a many of its assets which will benefit its rival BASF.

“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”

The European Commission, which received more than 1 million petitions concerning the deal, said has thoroughly examined more than 2,000 different products across markets as well as 2.7 million internal documents to arrive at its 1,285-page conclusion.

Bayer will sell some of its seed and herbicide assets for $7.2 billion (5.9 billion euros) to BASF as well as provide it a license to use data from its global digital farming application. Further, it will also divest its vegetable seeds business to BASF.

The Commission is due to rule on the BASF deal by April 16.

Online campaigns group Avaaz criticized the EU approval.

“This is a marriage made in hell. The Commission ignored a million people who called on them to block this deal, and caved in to lobbying to create a mega-corporation which will dominate our food supply,” said Nick Flynn, Avaaz’s legal director.

U.S.-incorporated Avaaz, funded by its members, is active in climate change, poverty, conflict and corruption issues.

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