24 May 2016
German drug and chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy the American GM seed pioneer Monsanto for $62bn (£43bn) in a deal that would create the world’s biggest agricultural supplier.
The deal, which includes Monstanto’s $9bn net debt, would represent the largest all-cash acquisition and the biggest takeover by a German company. Bayer, which invented aspirin in the 19th century, would fund the purchase with a mixture of debt and equity, including raising about $15bn from its shareholders.
The acquisition would create a business making drugs including Yasmin birth control pills as well as pesticides and seeds for GM crops such as soybeans.
Monsanto, based in St Louis, Missouri, was one of the first companies to develop genetically modified seeds in the 1990s. GM crops have remained controversial because of their potential impact on the environment and because they can keep ownership rights to seeds in the hands of big corporations.
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