The ACCC has announced that it will not oppose Bayer AG’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto Corporation on the basis of global divestments.
On 21 March 2018 the European Commission gave conditional approval to the proposed acquisition, subject to divestiture of major parts of Bayer’s herbicide, traits and seeds business along with a number of research and development functions and projects.
“The ACCC previously had concerns the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the supply of weed management systems for use on canola crops and reduce competitive tension in research and development of new crop protection products,” ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh said.
“The global divestments resolve those competition concerns in Australia,” Mr Keogh said.
The ACCC worked closely with the European Commission, the US Department of Justice and the Canadian Competition Bureau in assessing the deal.
The ACCC also closely considered certain issues which were unique to Australia, particularly in relation to cotton seeds.
“A number of interested parties raised concerns about the cancellation of Bayer’s Australian cotton breeding program and the potential foreclosure of rival Australian providers of cotton seed treatments, given the combined Bayer-Monsanto’s control of the Round-Up cotton seed trait. The ACCC investigated these issues in detail and concluded that there were no significant competition concerns,” Mr Keogh said.
Bayer is a global science and technology company based in Germany with products in the healthcare and crop science sectors. Its crop sciences business covers agri-chemicals, traits and seeds, among other things.
Monsanto is a global crop sciences business based in St Louis, USA. It is the producer of the herbicide Roundup and has a focus on trait technology and the emerging area of digital agriculture.
Bayer and Monsanto announced their merger on 14 September 2016.