Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company worth $64 billion, recently explored a takeover of $34 billion Swiss rival Syngenta AG in a transaction that would have allowed the U.S. firm to move its tax location from St. Louis to Switzerland. It’s another sign of how U.S. firms in many sectors are trying to avoid corporate taxes by moving their headquarters overseas.
Monsanto and Syngenta held preliminary talks with advisers in the past few months about a combination before Syngenta’s management decided against negotiations, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. There were concerns about the strategic fit, antitrust issues and relocating the company to Switzerland for tax reasons. An additional concern was that U.S. politicians would close the inversion loophole, thereby removing that benefit, another person said.