Monsanto said to approach Syngenta again about a takeover
May. 1, 2015
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Monsanto has discussed its interest with Syngenta in recent weeks, said two of the people, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Syngenta, which has a market value of about 29 billion Swiss Francs ($31 billion), has concerns about a combination, which would face antitrust hurdles, the people said. The companies may fail to reach an agreement, they said.
Combined with Syngenta, Monsanto would become the largest player in the world for both seeds and crop chemicals and a formidable competitor to Bayer AG, BASF SE and Dow Chemical Co. Basel-based Syngenta is the world’s largest maker of crop chemicals whereas St. Louis-based Monsanto is the largest maker of seeds and dominates the global market for genetically modified crops like corn and soybeans.
A spokeswoman for Monsanto declined to comment, while a representative for Syngenta had no immediate comment when reached by phone.
The companies held preliminary talks last year with advisers about a combination, before Syngenta’s management decided against negotiations, people familiar with the matter said at the time. No agreement was made after concerns were raised about the strategic fit, antitrust issues and relocating the company.
That transaction would have allowed Monsanto to move its tax location to Switzerland, where the average corporate tax rate is 17.9 percent, compared with 35 percent in the U.S. Such deals, known as inversions, have since come under increased scrutiny from U.S. legislators, and it’s not certain that any revived offer would be structured to move Monsanto’s official address.
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