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Report On Business Competition Bureau asks Bayer to divest some Canadian assets to win Monsanto deal approval

The Competition Bureau is forcing Bayer AG to divest some of its Canadian canola, soybean and vegetable seed, traits and herbicide assets before it will allow the German pharmaceutical giant to purchase agricultural business Monsanto Company.

The watchdog says in a consent agreement filed Wednesday that if the assets aren’t divested the takeover would likely “substantially lessen” competition in Canada’s seeds and crop treatment sector.

Bayer previously said the assets would be sold to German chemical company BASF SE for 5.9 billion euros.

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The bureau says it is reviewing the suitability of BASF as a buyer for the assets.

Bayer has canola seed facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia and herbicide operations within the country.

Its consent agreement comes a day after Bayer won approval from the European Union and the U.S. for its US$66-billion takeover of Monsanto.

It took two years for it to get U.S. approval because of concerns around the impact the deal would have on farmers.

Bayer still needs approval from Mexico before it can close on the deal.

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