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Turning the Big 6 Into a Big 3 Will Take a Bit Longer

Bayer and Monsanto may have to wait a few months for antitrust approval of their $66 billion merger. The initial target to complete the deal was late 2017, but EU regulators say they may need until March 5 to complete their review. The combined company would be the final step in consolidation of the seed and ag chemical sector into a Big 3 from a Big 6.

State-owned ChemChina completed its $43 billion acquisition of Swiss-based Syngenta, reportedly the largest purchase ever made by a Chinese company, at the end of last June, roughly 16 months after the companies announced the deal. 

Dow and DuPont closed their $130 billion merger last August 31, nearly two years after they agreed to combine. DowDuPont says it would convert its three divisions, including agriculture, into independent companies in the ensuing 18 months.

Bayer, headquartered in Germany, agreed earlier to sell some of its seed and herbicide businesses to BASF and may have to sell other assets to win EU approval. The combined “Baysanto” would be the world’s largest seed and ag chemical company. Last month, the companies said they had a green light from a U.S. panel that examines mergers for national security implications.

This article was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent, nonprofit news organization producing investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.

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