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Bayer increases Monsanto offer

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7:18 a.m., Sept. 6 with revised Bayer offer - St. Louis-based Monsanto is evaluating another takeover proposal from a German company. Bayer announced early Tuesday morning that is has increased its offer by roughly 2 percent. It’s a more than $65 billion proposal.

Bayer also announced the companies are in "advanced negotiations."

A statement from Monsanto indicates there is no guarantee that it will agree to any deal. Company officials are also going through proposals "from other parties and other strategic alternatives."  They deemed previous offers from Bayer as "financially inadequate."

Updated 11:38 a.m., July  19 with Monsanto rejection - Monsanto has rejected the most-recent takeover offer from Bayer. The St. Louis-based company says the $125 per share bid is "financially inadequate." Germany-based Bayer upped its offer last week after an initial proposal of $122 per share.

The potential deal is estimated at roughly $65 billion.  Last week's offer from Bayer included a $1.5 billion breakup fee, in case any agreed upon transaction failed to close.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Monsanto says it is still open to negotiations with Bayer and other companies about potential combinations. Bloomberg has reported Monsanto and BASF  have held discussions about the European company's agricultural solutions unit.

Original story from June 29, 2016:

The door remains open for a German company to acquire Monsanto. The St. Louis seed and agricultural-chemical giant’s chief executive officer has been continuing discussions with Bayer, and several others, about "alternative strategic options.”

Hugh Grant said Wednesday that Bayer's $122 per-share offer from earlier this year remains "financially inadequate." But the company’s senior officials are not ruling out a potential $62 billion combination.

"We are looking at that proposal, relative to other strategic alternatives," Grant told analysts during Monsanto's quarterly earnings conference call.

"But you have to take the long view in this because the vagaries of the commodity markets are either punishing or they develop elation."

His comments come days after Bayer's chief executive reiterated strengthening the company's agrochemical profile is a priority. Werner Baumann is quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying Monsanto is "is the most attractive proposition for the company and for shareholders."

He has been trying to convince skeptical investors ever since making the takeover offer public.

The potential deal is expected to be one of the key topics of discussion when Bayer gives a quarterly report July 27.

It was at the forefront Wednesday when Monsanto announced earnings for the third quarter of its fiscal year. The company reported a profit of $717 million, down from $1.14 billion a year earlier.

That includes some restructuring charges and some tax issues in Argentina.

Despite the profit drop and potential acquisition, Monsanto officials say they are upbeat. That optimism comes with the agricultural sector in the low point of a down cycle and the company experiencing “an unforeseen level of challenges."

Monsanto says there are early signs of an agriculture recovery and some of the company’s hurdles are being cleared.

Hugh Grant, CEO, Monsanto
Credit Provided by Monsanto
Grant has been Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto since 2012

  That includes this week's announcement of an 18-month authorization extension for glyphosate in Europe. The herbicide is a key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer.

The company has been awaiting that announcement for some time.

"There's been an element of frustration in this with some of the bureaucracy in the E-U," Grant told analysts.

"It's beyond the 11th hour. But it's really good to see this finally come through."

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.