May 1, 2018


EU conditionally OKs sale of Bayer's crop science business to BASF




The European Commission on Monday, April 30, conditionally approved the sale of parts of Bayer's crop science business to BASF, it was announced.


The sale is subject to the successful closing of Bayer's acquisition of US seeds maker Monsanto. The planned sale had earlier been conditionally cleared by EC in March.


The German pesticide firm had committed to divest an extensive remedy package worth over €6 billion to address the competition concerns on overlaps between Bayer and Monsanto in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture.


In October 2017, Bayer said the assets to be sold included its global glufosinate-ammonium business and the related LibertyLink™ technology for herbicide tolerance, essentially all of the company's field crop seeds businesses, as well as respective research and development capabilities.


It said then that the seeds businesses being divested included the soybean seed business, global cotton seed business (excluding India and South Africa) and the North American and European canola seed businesses. The transaction included the transfer of relevant intellectual property and facilities, as well as more than 1,800 employees primarily in the US, Germany, Brazil, Canada and Belgium.


Additional agreement


Since then, Bayer has signed another agreement with BASF to sell further businesses and assets including:


  -- Bayer's entire vegetable seeds business, operating under the global trademark Nunhems®;

  -- seed treatment products sold under the Poncho®, VOTiVO®, COPeO® and ILeVO® brands;

  -- the R&D platform for hybrid wheat; and

  -- the complete state-of-the-art digital farming platform xarvioTM.


The new transaction also includes Bayer's oilseed rape business in Australia; certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe, used predominantly for industrial applications; the canola-quality juncea research; and certain non-selective herbicide and nematicide research projects.


In its April 30 decision, the EC said that since BASF does not currently sell seeds or non-selective herbicides and only recently started to develop a limited offering in digital agriculture, the Commission did not identify competition concerns with most parts of the transaction.


"However, the Commission had concerns that the transaction would have reduced innovation competition in the European Economic Area for the development of certain non-selective herbicides as well as potential competition for the production of nematicidal seed treatments", it added.


Overall, the EC concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns.  —Rick Alberto