Bayer AG has reached an agreement to acquire Monsanto Co. for about $56 billion to create the world’s biggest maker of seeds and pesticides, according to people familiar with the matter.
The German company agreed to pay about $128 a share and an announcement is planned imminently, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Bayer’s supervisory board supports the deal, they said. Bayer is also offering an antitrust break fee of about $2 billion, one of the people said. If successful, it would lead to the biggest deal this year and the largest ever by a German company.
Bayer’s wooing of St. Louis-based Monsanto has played out against a backdrop of a rapidly consolidating crop and seed industry as falling prices weighed on profits. A series of big deals may leave just a few global players.
Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment on the new proposal.
One impetus for Monsanto is the company’s ambition to become a one-stop shop for farmers, and to sell a comprehensive array of fertilizers and seeds to be used in conjunction with big data applications. That’s how farmers are going to increase productivity and yields to feed a growing world population, the company has said.
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