CREVE COEUR (dpa-AFX) - The U.S. Justice Department has decided to allow Bayer AG's (BAYRY) deal to acquire Monsanto Co. (MON), valued at more than $60 billion, after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets to secure government antitrust approval, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.
The Bayer deal presented the Justice Department with its second major merger decision under Trump administration leadership, following its move last November to challenge AT&T Inc.'s acquisition of Time Warner Inc., a case that is currently in trial.
The European Union last month conditionally approved the deal after Bayer agreed to sell off more than $7 billion worth of assets to rival BASF SE . The sales include Bayer's soybean and cottonseed businesses, as well as Bayer's glufosinate weedkiller, which competes against Monsanto's Roundup.
U.S. antitrust officials continued to harbor concerns. After the EU's move, the Justice Department said the deal could have different competitive effects on American farmers and consumers, citing for example the market for genetically modified seeds, which are widely used in the U.S. but largely prohibited in Europe.
As part of an agreement with U.S. antitrust enforcers, Bayer will divest additional seed and seed-treatment assets and will make concessions related to its digital agriculture business, which provides data-driven farming advice and services. BASF will also acquire those assets, the report said.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX