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BASF May Buy Bayer Veg Business

Bayer's Nunhems hybrid seed line represents over 1,200 seed varieties in 25 vegetable crops. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Bayer has announced it is in exclusive talks with BASF on the sale of its vegetable seed business. The potential sale is another effort to move along Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto and to address antitrust concerns of the European Commission.

Industry analysts pointed to the vegetable seeds business as a clear overlap between the two businesses early in the negotiations. Bayer's Nunhems seed line represents over 1,200 seed varieties in 25 vegetable crops. Monsanto has breeding efforts in many of the same vegetable crops, as well as melons, within their DeRuiter and Seminis brands.

On Oct. 13, 2017, Bayer had already agreed to sell selected crop science businesses to BASF for nearly $7 billion. This first divestiture covered Bayer's global glufosinate-ammonium business and the related LibertyLink technology for herbicide tolerance. It includes most of the company's field crop seed businesses and research and development capabilities. The seed businesses being divested include the global cotton seed business (excluding India and South Africa), the oilseed rape/canola business in North America and Europe and the soybean seed business.

Last week, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said the purchase of Monsanto, which is now valued at $62.5 billion, is taking longer than expected. Bayer announced it is working closely with authorities worldwide and now hoping to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2018.

The EU Commission recently extended the examination deadline for the acquisition until April 5. In the U.S., the Bayer-Monsanto deal received a green light in 2017 from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes mergers for national security issues. However, Bayer is still waiting on approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to local news reports, Bayer's facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is expected to transfer to BASF. Bayer has revealed the headquarters of its North American Commercial and Seeds and Traits division will be in St. Louis. Bayer's Environmental Science business is expected to remain in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area.

Any sales and licenses are still subject to a successful closing of the proposed acquisition of Monsanto.

Pamela Smith can be reached at

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