WASHINGTON (AP) — German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG has agreed to the U.S. government’s demand that it sell about $9 billion in agriculture businesses as condition for acquiring Monsanto Co., a U.S. seed and weed-killer maker.
Antitrust regulators at the Justice Department say it’s the biggest divestiture ever required for a merger. The regulators say they directed Bayer to divest assets such as vegetable oils, seeds and seed treatments to ensure fair competition in the market after the massive agriculture business deal goes through. The assets will be sold to BASF, a German chemical company.
Bayer’s $57 billion takeover of Monsanto has been watched by competitors and environmental groups, which are fearful that the number of players in the business of selling seeds and pesticides will shrink further.