Bayer gains EU approval to acquire Monsanto

Bayer has checked off one of the final boxes on the list of approvals needed for its acquisition of Monsanto, as the European Commission granted conditional approval of the $66 billion deal on Wednesday.

“We have approved Bayer’s plans to take over Monsanto because the parties’ remedies, worth well over €6 billion, meet our competition concerns in full,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The EU’s conditions are similar to those laid out by other countries, including divestments in Bayer’s canola, cotton and soybean seed businesses, the R&D platform for hybrid wheat, Bayer’s vegetable business, Bayer’s global glufosinate herbicide business, and Monsanto’s NemaStrike nematicide. The EU approval also requires the transfer of three Bayer research projects focusing on non-selective herbicides and that Bayer licenses out a copy of its digital agriculture platform.

BASF is the intended buyer for these assets.

“Receipt of the European Commission’s approval is a major success and a significant milestone,” said Bayer CEO Werner Baumann, in a statement on Wednesday.

The companies are still aiming to complete the deal, which was announced in September 2016, in the second quarter of 2018. With the green light from the EU, the most significant approval left is the go-ahead from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the past, Bayer held its second quarter earnings call in July, but the call has been scheduled for September 5th this year, perhaps to allow more time for the deal to be finalized.

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