Syngenta among options for Monsanto takeover bids: executives

Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:20pm EST
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By P.J. Huffstutter

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. (MON.N: Quote) executives are discussing whether the world's largest seed company should acquire agrochemical rivals, including top pesticide maker Syngenta AG SYNN.VX, Monsanto President Brett Begemann said on Tuesday.

"Everybody's talking now. There's multiple ways things can occur," Begemann said.

Monsanto abandoned a $45 billion bid for Syngenta in August.

Begemann said executives and staff routinely talk with counterparts at Syngenta, Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE: Quote) and other agrochemical companies regarding existing business dealings.

But in recent months, Monsanto executives have been weighing whether new partnerships and licensing deals, or acquisition bids, might be possible with other companies in the sector, Begemann told Reuters.

In particular, he said, Monsanto is keeping a close eye on what farm chemical product lines it could acquire if rivals merged their agricultural businesses, such as Dow Chemical (DOW.N: Quote) and Dupont, and were forced to spin-off assets in order to meet regulatory approvals.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Syngenta has been talking to Dupont Co. (DD.N: Quote) about merging with its agricultural unit, while Dupont has separately been in talks with Dow Chemical Co. (DOW.N: Quote) about its seed and farm chemical division.

Monsanto executives are focusing on chemistry, not seed, assets for such potential acquisitions, Begemann said.   Continued...

Flowers grow in front of Swiss agrochemicals maker Syngenta's logo at the company's headquarters in Basel August 19, 2015.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann