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Bayer to acquire Monsanto in a $66 billion deal

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Updated 10:25 a.m., Sept. 14 with CEO comments -  The head of Monsanto is assuring St. Louis residents about the company's commitment to the region, following the announcement that the agribusiness giant is being acquired by Germany-based Bayer. Hugh Grant told reporters the combination is good news for the region and points to the fact that it will be the global center for the combined company's seeds and traits operations.

"So what we are doing in St. Louis today will be amplified and resourced even further," Grant said during a joint conference call with Bayer executives.

St. Louis will also be the headquarters for North American commercial operations.

"Which is still the most important global market for this new company," Grant said.

Maintaining a strong presence in the region also has the backing of Bayer's chief executive officer. He said he was especially impressed with the community and philanthropic involvement Monsanto has established.

"I'd much rather continue to build on it," Werner Baumann told reporters. "Having said that, of course, we will engage and look at what we are going to do in supporting the communities in line with the combined business that is going to be built."

Both leaders are also open to changing Monsanto's name.

"We have said in the past, as we've looked at previous transactions, that would be something we'd be flexible on," Monsanto's CEO Grant said. "The conversation is focused much more on innovation."

Baumann is linking a reputation assessment to any possible name change.

"We will jointly look at what the right course of action is going forward," he said during the call. "Rest assured that we will pay utmost attention to that question."

0915HurstWeb.mp3
St. Louis Public Radio's Wayne Pratt and Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst discuss Bayer's $66 billion takeover of St. Louis-based Monsanto.

Original Story, Sept. 14, 2016

St. Louis-based Monsanto has finally agreed to a takeover offer from the German company Bayer. The deal is valued at $66 billion and would create the world’s largest seeds and pesticides company. The announcement ends months of back and forth between the companies, which started when Bayer announced its intentions in May.

St. Louis will have an important role in the combined company. It will be the headquarters for the seeds and traits division and the North American commercial operations.

Other key locations will be in Germany, North Carolina and California.

 The deal still needs regulatory and shareholder approval. Bayer will pay Monsanto $2 billion if the takeover is not approved by antitrust regulators.

The companies say the acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2017.

The Bayer-Monsanto tie-up follows a merger trend in the agricultural sector.

DuPont and Dow Chemical are working through the merger process that is expected to result in a company with a large agricultural presence.

Syngenta is being taken over by China National Chemical Corp.

The Swiss company had been a takeover target of Monsanto, but the companies could not come to an agreement.

Follow Wayne on Twitter @wayneradio

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.