A successful attempt by Monsanto Co. to buy Syngenta AG and form an agrochemical powerhouse would prompt major rivals to also reconsider strategy and review cross-licensing deals, said the head of Bayer AG’s CropScience unit.
“It would definitely force a review of how everybody is going to react,” Liam Condon said in a phone interview from the division’s headquarters in Monheim, Germany. “There’s only six research and development based players in this industry so if the two biggest were to go together, inevitably it would force others to review their strategies.”
After its first $45 billion bid for Syngenta was rejected, Monsanto is lobbying the Swiss company’s shareholders to put pressure on management to start talks. Bayer, in the process of selling its diabetes-device unit and listing its plastics business, generally likes to play an active role in consolidation rather than just be a bystander, Condon said, while declining to comment on what the company would do in the case of a combination of the two rivals.
Bayer would be a candidate to buy Syngenta’s seed business, which Monsanto would need to sell for antitrust reasons, chemical analysts at Bernstein and Credit Suisse have said. Monsanto already pitched the idea to Bayer last year, people familiar with the matter have said. Bayer has a “clear” view on how to respond in the event Monsanto proceeds with its takeover plan, Condon said.
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