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Monsanto completes divestitures of Stoneville and NexGen

By Tom Weber, KWMU / AP

St. Louis, MO – St. Louis-based Monsanto said Tuesday it has cleared the last government hurdle to buying the cotton company Delta and Pine Land.

The Justice Department had approved the $1.5 billion merger but required the companies to sell assets. That's because the government said the sale could quash competition in the U.S. cottonseed market.

Monsanto said Tuesday that it had completed the divestitures of the Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Co. and NexGen businesses.

The Stoneville business was acquired by Bayer CropScience AG, a unit of Germany-based Bayer AG, for $310 million. That acquisition also closed on Tuesday, Bayer said.

As a result of the completion of the divestitures, Monsanto said it will immediately begin combining Delta and Pine Land with its existing operations and policies.

Monsanto shares rose $1.62 to $67.60 in afternoon trading. Earlier in the session, the stock hit a new 12-month high of $68, surpassing its prior peak of $67.86.

Monsanto first announced plans to buy Delta and Pine Land in 1998 but backed out. That prompted a legal dispute that continued until the companies announced a new agreement last year.