Bayer and Monsanto: Biggest cash takeover in history looms

German pharmaceuticals giant puts together $65bn offer for seed firm

(Image credit: Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)

The largest cash takeover in history is looking even more likely after pharmaceuticals giant Bayer raised its offer for US seed and pesticide firm Monsanto to $65m (£49m).

Monsanto – described by The Guardian as "the controversial maker of genetically modified seeds" – says it has taken part in constructive discussions with Bayer. The German firm's new offer is its third since May.

The mooted takeover would already have been the biggest cash deal in history, with Monsanto's shares valued at $125 each by Bayer. The latest offer raises that price to $127.50.

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However, there are a few genetically modified flies in the medicated ointment. Experts warn that the combined business might fall foul of competition regulators, whose conditions might devalue the deal, says the Guardian.

One major investor has expressed concern that Bayer might be taking on too much debt – and suggested the merger might not be the best thing for the firm's pharmaceuticals strategy.

Bayer shareholder Greg Herbert of Jupiter Global Equity Income Funds has warned that the takeover poses a "significant risk" and questioned the logic behind the merger.

Herbert told the Guardian: "The company will be left with a highly geared balance sheet and the management effort to integrate the two businesses could easily lead to the larger pharmaceutical business being neglected."

Combining the two firms would create the "world's biggest agricultural supplier", says the BBC. It would become the market leader in Europe, the US and Asia.

With other major players in the sector merging, farmers are concerned that they will face fewer choices and higher prices, says the broadcaster. While the merger remains a serious possibility, it is not guaranteed to go ahead.

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