Bayer said to plan sales of seed assets to pre-empt regulators

Bayer AG will put some of its seed businesses up for sale, according to people familiar with the matter, in an attempt to address likely antitrust concerns over its $66 billion combination with Monsanto Co.

The German company will send out information packages on three assets, which it may sell separately, to potential bidders, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. None of Creve Coeur-based Monsanto’s assets will be sold in the process, they said. The process could start as soon as this week, one of the people said.

Among the products being offered are the cottonseed business Bayer acquired from Monsanto for more than $300 million in 2007, as well as canola seed operations and LibertyLink, a herbicide-resistant crop gene, the people said. Representatives for Bayer and Monsanto declined to comment.

Bayer’s resolve to start selling assets before antitrust regulators have made recommendations highlights the German company’s drive to conclude the deal as quickly as possible. A sale of the three assets, which have overlaps with Monsanto’s products, was widely expected to avoid a run in with regulators. In cottonseed, U.S. government data showed that Bayer and Monsanto together control about 58 percent of sales in the country.

Bayer has already filed for approval in the U.S. and will wait to petition Europe in the second quarter after regulators there requested more information on the deal, Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann said last month. The company has said it remains confident of closing the transaction by the end of the year.

Read more: Bloomberg

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