Monsanto name to become part of history, with acquisition by Bayer set to close on Thursday

One of the most well-known and controversial brands in the world will soon become part of history.

Bayer has confirmed it plans to complete its acquisition of Monsanto on June 7, after receiving all the required regulatory approvals.

Monsanto products will retain their brand names under Bayer’s portfolio, but the name “Monsanto” will be retired.

“When people have worked for many years under one roof, they’re proud of what they have achieved. This is exactly the case with Monsanto,” said Liam Condon, Bayer board member and president of the Crop Science Division, when asked about feedback from Monsanto management regarding the end of the company name in a call with reporters on Monday. “However, what they’re really proud of is their product brands, so for example, Dekalb, because those are the solutions they offer for their customers.”

“You will probably recall Monsanto had actually itself considered changing its name and decided not to do that, apparently for cost reasons at the time, but it was an issue for some time for Monsanto management as well to try and improve the Monsanto brand,” he continued. “Right now the feedback from the Monsanto side is we’re very proud of our brand and what we’ve achieved. We’re not fixated on the Monsanto brand. We look forward very much to coming under the Bayer roof, and we believe we will have more opportunity there.”

Bayer reached the deal to acquire Monsanto in September 2016 for US$128 per share, which currently works out to approximately US$63 billion after accounting for changes in Monsanto’s outstanding debt. Bayer says it will become the sole shareholder of Monsanto as of June 7.

To gain regulatory approval, Bayer has planned divestitures to BASF worth approximately US$8.9 billion (7.6 billion euros), including the following assets:

  • canola seed and canola traits business;
  • soybean seed and soybean traits business;
  • carrot seed business;
  • nematode seed treatment business;
  • glufosinate-ammonium herbicide (Liberty) business;
  • LibertyLink herbicide tolerance technology;
  • assets related to the Centurion herbicide; and,
  • the Bayer digital farming business.

Based on the approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, the actual integration of Monsanto into Bayer can only take place as soon as the above assets have been transferred to BASF.  Bayer says it expects the divestitures will be completed in approximately two months (so don’t expect Monsanto signs and branding to disappear immediately.)

“We have diligently prepared for the upcoming integration over the past two years. Our extensive experience in integrating other large companies has proven that we can and will be successful,” said Werner Baumann, chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG.

As for public perception of the company after taking over Monsanto, Bayer says it “fully aware of the heightened responsibility that a leadership position in agriculture entails.”

“We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground. Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It’s the only way to build bridges,” said Baumann on Monday.

More to come later this week.

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Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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