Farm chemical company Bayer AG has signed a deal to acquire weed-killer maker Monsanto in a $US66 billion ($A88 billion) deal that could reshape the global food industry.
AAP reports that the deal, which is the biggest all-cash takeover in history, is now subject to approval by Monsanto shareholders and anti-trust regulators.
Together the two companies will become the world’s biggest maker of seeds and pesticides with significant influence over how foods are developed and supplied.
“We are pleased to announce the combination of our two great organisations. This represents a major step forward for our Crop Science business and reinforces Bayer’s leadership position as a global innovation driven Life Science company with leadership positions in its core segments, delivering substantial value to shareholders, our customers, employees and society at large,” said Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG (pictured left, with Hugh Grant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto).
As the SMH reports, Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer echoed Baumann and claimed the deal as a step forward for the agricultural sector
“The whole agricultural industry around the world is basically going thru a transformation. It’s the last big industry in the world to be digitised,” said Fraley. “This allows to make more investments, have more capabilities and build better products for farmers, that they can use to grow crops with higher yields … and farm better, farm smarter.”
However, the deal will not be without controversy. Some environmentalists claim the growth in the use of genetically modified seeds (which Monsanto is heavily involved in) is potentially unsafe for humans and the environment.
A National Academies of Sciences panel of experts said in May that there is no evidence for this but added that more research is needed.