Germany’s Bayer in talks to buy crop seeds company Monsanto
German drug and chemicals company Bayer confirmed Thursday it has entered talks with the Monsanto Company about the possible acquisition of the U.S.-based specialist in genetically modified crop seeds.
Leverkusen-based Bayer said in a short statement that its executives had met recently with their Monsanto counterparts “to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition of Monsanto Company.”
The news sent Bayer shares tumbling 7.9 percent in early trading on Germany’s DAX index to 88.81 euros ($100.17). Monsanto shares jumped 8.9 percent to $105.80 in pre-market trading in New York.
Bayer AG, whose farm business produces seeds as well as compounds to kill weeds, bugs and fungus, said the proposed acquisition would help it “create a leading integrated agriculture business.”
St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto said late Wednesday that it was reviewing Bayer’s proposal. Neither company gave other details.
The possible deal had been rumored for a week but it was the first comment from either company.
It follows a wave of consolidation in the chemicals industry: DuPont and Dow Chemical agreed to combine last year, and ChemChina agreed to buy Syngenta of Switzerland in March after Monsanto’s own bid for its Basel-based rival failed.
Monsanto has some 20,000 employees and produces seeds for fruits, vegetables and other crops including corn, soybeans and cotton, as well as the popular weed-killer Roundup.
Its sales have suffered recently as falling crop prices have reduced farmers’ spending on its genetically enhanced seeds. Meantime, the strong U.S. dollar has meant its products are more expensive overseas.
Bayer, which specializes in health care and agriculture, employs some 117,000 people worldwide and had sales last year of 46.3 billion euros ($52.22 billion).
'Guerilla Gardening' Protest: Marijuana Plants Pop Up In Germany After Seeds Planted By 'A Few Autonomous Flower Children'
Some stealthy stoners have taken to innovative methods to protest Germany’s drug laws.
Der Spiegel reports that over the weekend, marijuana plants started popping up throughout the town of Göttingen. A pro-drug reform group called ‘A Few Autonomous Flower Children’ has taken credit for planting thousands of pot seeds back in June in defiance of what they call the country’s “demonization of cannabis.”
“We can’t set eyes on this useful and beautiful plant because it’s absolutely forbidden in Germany to grow it,” the group wrote in a letter, Der Spiegel adds.
According to United Press International, the group has found support from the Green Youth, the youth movement of Germany’s Green Party, which has posted photos of the sprouting plants on its website while calling for readers to “enjoy with deep relaxation the majestic beauty of this magnificent plant!”
Local police told UPI that they are using the photos to locate and destroy the buds and will pursue the suspected planters on narcotics charges. Seventy plants have been destroyed thus far.
Marijuana decriminalization and legalization have been hot topics throughout Germany and much of the western world in recent years. Support for relaxing drug laws has gained steam as pro-reform advocates argue pot should be classified as like alcohol and tobacco, while pointing to the negative consequences of criminalization. Last year, a poll found that 152,000 Germans favor legalization.
It is currently illegal in Germany to carry and consume the drug, though possession of small amounts doesn’t carry criminal consequences. That limit, however, varies between cities, leading to recent calls for the standardization of the nation’s drug laws.
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