Bayer and Monsanto today announced that they signed a definitive merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for USD 128 per share in an all-cash transaction. But “no comment” was the refrain last week when agricultural journalists were at Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany last week to talk about the future of farming. It was a fantastic event coordinated by the wonderful and talented Beth Roden and attended by about 200 journalists and bloggers, including a good group from the U.S., with several of us who were at the end of a marathon that had started with Farm Progress Show the week before!
The main message at the Bayer global press conference was continued investment in the Crop Science division to deliver new solutions for sustainable agriculture despite the current difficult business environment. “We are very confident about the long-term growth potential of the agricultural market,” said Liam Condon, Head of the Crop Science Division, in his keynote address. The company has earmarked EUR 2.5 billion for capital expenditure from 2017 to 2020 in addition to over EUR 1 billion annually for research and development.
During his address and also meeting with U.S. ag journalists, Condon talked about the company’s efforts in the emerging field of Digital Farming, currently selling and testing Digital Farming products in 10 countries and partnering with four “ForwardFarms” to demonstrate real life sustainable agriculture best practices, many of which rely on advances in Digital Farming.
Just about everyone tried to ask a question to get some kind of comment on the Bayer/Monsanto negotiations, and Condon was able to speak in generalities in answer to some of them – sort of. It’s fun to listen to! And you might find some comments to use with the announcement this morning that the deal is now done: Group interview with Liam Condon, Bayer
*Bayer and Monsanto have a press conference scheduled for 8:30 central time this morning*