The Australian competition watchdog has approved the global acquisition of American crop science firm Monsanto by German giant Bayer, after Bayer agreed to divest major parts of its herbicide, traits and seeds business.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission recently raised concerns over the potential impact of the planned acquisition on Australia’s weed management market. Monsanto, based in St Louis, USA, is the producer of the herbicide Roundup.
But after the European Commission on March 21 gave the acquisition its conditional stamp of approval – based on Bayer’s commitment to divest certain parts of its business – the ACCC was convinced to let the deal proceed.
“The ACCC previously had concerns the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the supply of weed management systems for use on canola crops and reduce competitive tension in research and development of new crop protection products,” ACCC commissioner Mick Keogh said.
“The global divestments resolve those competition concerns in Australia.”
Bayer is buying Monsanto for US$66 billion.
The ACCC says it worked closely with the European Commission, the US Department of Justice and the Canadian Competition Bureau in assessing the deal.
“A number of interested parties raised concerns about the cancellation of Bayer’s Australian cotton breeding program and the potential foreclosure of rival Australian providers of cotton seed treatments, given the combined Bayer-Monsato’s control of the Round-Up cotton seed trait,” Keogh added.
“The ACCC investigated these issues in detail and concluded that there were no significant competition concerns.”