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Monsanto has abandoned its $47 billion takeover bid for the Swiss agricultural and chemical manufacturer Syngenta after the company rebuffed a newly sweetened offer. Syngenta steadfastly refused the entreaties, arguing that the proposals were “woefully short” of addressing concerns like potential opposition from antitrust regulators.
In a statement, Syngenta said the offer significantly undervalued the company and was “fraught with execution risk.” Monsanto said it would now focus on its own stand-alone business, including resuming a stock buyback program.
The proposed deal, first made public in May, would have created an agricultural behemoth with the largest market share in the world in both seeds and agricultural chemicals. Monsanto is the leader in seeds and genetically engineered traits, while Syngenta leads in chemicals, which include insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
The proposed deal was somewhat surprising because Monsanto had tried to leave behind its history as a chemical manufacturer and reposition itself as a “sustainable” agriculture company. For instance, some genetically engineered crops make their own toxins to kill insects, potentially reducing the need for spraying of insecticides.
Syngenta executives said Monsanto’s interest in a deal reflected the slowing of growth in genetically engineered seeds, forcing the Monsanto to look elsewhere for new business.
Although Monsanto said it would now concentrate on its own growth, it is conceivable that it will eventually look elsewhere for more chemicals.
Brett D. Begemann, Monsanto’s chief operating officer, told Bloomberg News in June that if the Syngenta deal fell through, Monsanto might pursue an acquisition of or a marketing deal with Bayer CropScience, the agricultural division of Bayer of Germany.
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