Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the Bayer Healthcare subgroup production plant in Wuppertal, Germany.

© Ina Fassbender / Reuters/Reuters

Monsanto Co. shareholders on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $57-billion merger with Bayer AG, a deal that would combine two of the world's biggest agricultural companies.

Preliminary results showed that 99 per cent of all votes cast favoured the merger announced in September, St. Louis-based Monsanto said. Shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash at the closing of the merger, which must still receive regulatory approval. Monsanto said the deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.

Monsanto shares rose 32 cents to $104.91 in midday trading.

Story continues below advertisement

"This is an important milestone as we work to combine our two complementary companies and deliver on our shared vision for the future of agriculture," Monsanto Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant said in a statement.

Bayer, the German medicine and farm-chemical maker, and Monsanto, maker of seeds, herbicides and pesticides among other agricultural products, have faced concern from some government and ag industry leaders who worry the merger will hurt farmers by reducing competition at a time when the agriculture economy has slowed.

The National Farmers Union has said the merger would mean that three companies would have more than 80 per cent of U.S. corn seed sales and 70 per cent of the global pesticide market.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said in a statement that the vote "underscores NFU's concern that these megadeals are being made to benefit the shareholders of multinational corporations at the expense of family farmers, ranchers, consumers and rural economies." He urged the U.S. Department of Justice to "reject this and other pending and future deals that further cripple marketplace competition."

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing in September that the wave of consolidations "has become a tsunami."

Top officials for both companies say the merger will be a boost for farmers.

"By bringing together our expertise and our resources to drive this shared vision, we can do even more together to benefit growers around the world and to help address broad global challenges like climate change and food scarcity," Grant said.

Story continues below advertisement

Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, said the acquisition of Monsanto "is driven by our strong belief that this combination can help address the growing challenges facing farmers and the overall agriculture industry today and in the future. Together, Bayer and Monsanto will be able to offer the new, innovative solutions that our customers need."

The merger calls for Bayer to pay $57-billion to Monsanto shareholders and assume $9-billion in Monsanto debt.

Bayer sells crop protection chemicals used to kill weeds, insects and plant fungal diseases and also makes popular pharmaceutical products such as Bayer aspirin, Claritin allergy medicine and Alka Seltzer. Bayer also owns Dr. Scholl's foot products and Coppertone sunscreen.

Monsanto sells seeds for fruits, vegetables, corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops, plus Roundup weed killer. The company is a leading producer of genetically modified seeds engineered to resist drought and herbicides, among other things. Protests against Monsanto by opponents of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are common.

Plans call for the combined company's seeds and North American business to be headquartered at Monsanto's St. Louis base. Executives for both companies have not said if the Monsanto name will change.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies