Agrochemicals and seeds giant Bayer has made an offer to buy the US agricultural group Monsanto in a deal which could create the world’s biggest supplier of pesticides and seeds.
The move comes amid a wave of deals in the industry with DuPont and Dow Chemical planning to merge and Chinese group ChemChina about to take over Syngenta for US$43bn (£29.3bn), only months after Monsanto abandoned its own bid for Syngenta.
No financial details were disclosed and any possible tie-up is likely to be closely examined by regulators over competition issues.
The US group has a market value of $42bn (£28.6bn), but any deal if agreed is likely to be higher.
See also: Chinese set to take over Syngenta
Low farm commodity prices which are hurting arable growers’ incomes are also hitting profits at seed and chemical groups and prompting the wave of deals, while farmers have also raised concerns that such mega deals could lead to fewer choices and higher prices.
German agriculture and also pharmaceuticals group Bayer said it had met with Monsanto to discuss a deal, while Monsanto said there were no assurances that any deal would be completed.
Bayer is the world’s number two in agrochemicals behind Syngenta while it has a fast-growing seeds business. Monsanto is the global leader in seeds and has also developed the world’s best-selling agrochemical, glyphosate (Roundup).
The German group is the leading agrochemical group in the UK with fungicides such as Aviator and Proline, while US-based Monsanto has the biggest share of the UK oilseed rape seeds market with varieties such as Extrovert and Exalte.