Monsanto rejects Bayer bid, open more talks

Monsanto rejects Bayer bid, but open to more talks

10:55 AM, 26th May 2016
Monsanto rejects Bayer bid, but open to more talks
A Monsanto logo is pictured in the company headquarters in Morges, Switzerland.

LONDON, UK: Monsanto Company, the world's largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG's $62 billion acquisition bid as "incomplete and financially inadequate”, but said it was open to engage further in negotiations.

Monsanto's decision puts pressure on Bayer to decide whether to raise its bid, even as the company faces criticism from some shareholders that its $122-per-share cash offer is already too high.

Monsanto shares ended trading up 3.1 percent at $109.3 in New York, substantially below Bayer's bid price, underscoring some investor skepticism that a deal can be done. Bayer shares rose 3.23 percent at €87.15 in Frankfurt.

"We believe in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society, and we have long respected Bayer’s business," said Hugh Grant, Monsanto chief executive in a statement.

"However, the current proposal significantly undervalues our company and also does not adequately address or provide reassurance for some of the potential financing and regulatory execution risks related to the acquisition," he added.

Bayer responded that its $122 per share offer represents "full and certain value" for Monsanto shareholders, but that it looks forward to engaging in constructive discussions with Monsanto.

"We are confident that we can address any potential financing or regulatory matters related to the transaction. Bayer remains committed to working together to complete this mutually compelling transaction," Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer in a statement.

It was not clear what price Monsanto would be willing to sell for but several analysts have suggested Bayer would have to pay much more than the current offer to clinch a deal.

"We believe it is unlikely that the deal gets done at $122 and still believe $135 is a more likely price," JP Morgan analysts wrote in a research note.

Manning & Napier Advisors LLC, an investment management firm that is Monsanto's 14th largest shareholder, agreed with Monsanto's decision to seek a higher offer.

"Monsanto's assessment that the initial offer was inadequate is valid, as we believe it does not appropriately value the company’s existing product portfolio," said Michael Knolla, a managing director at Manning & Napier.

Global agrochemicals companies are racing to consolidate, partly in response to a drop in commodity prices that has hit farm incomes. Seeds and pesticides markets are also increasingly converging. This has driven Monsanto to consider a tie-up to build strength.

With German rival BASF SE having previously considered a tie-up with Monsanto, Bayer has moved to avoid being left behind.

Leverkusen-based Bayer's unsolicited bid for Monsanto is the largest all-cash takeover on record, just ahead of InBev SA's $60.4 billion offer for Anheuser-Busch in June 2008.

Bayer said it would finance its cash bid with a combination of debt and equity.

© Reuters News

 

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Bayer offers $62 billion cash to acquire Monsanto

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