German chemical giant Bayer will ditch the controversial Monsanto name as it prepares to close a $63bn takeover of the US seed and spray company on Thursday.
Monsanto, a 117-year-old brand, has long attracted criticism from environmental campaigners who oppose its use of genetically modified seed, and the brand was recently ranked the 16th most-hated in the US.
The combined entity will create the world’s largest seeds and agrochemical supplier despite Dow’s merger with Dupont and ChemChina’s takeover of Syngenta.
In the UK, it will give Bayer control of one-quarter of the oilseed rape market under the Dekalb brand, as well as glyphosate, the best-selling herbicide of all time.
The deal, announced some 18 months ago, cleared its final regulatory hurdle last week after approval from US authorities and Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said he expects it to go into effect on 7 June.
To gain approval in Europe, Bayer had to sell its existing InVigor oilseed rape varieties and hybrid wheat-breeding programme to fellow German group BASF, alongside more significant assets in the US.
Despite this, its total agricultural business will double in size, giving it annual sales of almost €20bn, nearly 50% bigger than nearest rival ChemChina.