How Monsanto Pushed Syngenta AG (ADR) Shares 15% Higher Today

By Markets Fool.com

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

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What: Shares of Swiss-based agricultural technology company Syngenta AG are up over 15% today after it was revealed that the company was approached about a takeover by Monsanto .

So what: This is deja vu for Syngenta shareholders, which in June 2014 learned of a failed $40 billion bid from Monsanto. The prior deal was rejected due to concerns of antitrust laws and a lack of a strategic fit. The former concern would have to be addressed in a big way if a potential merger has any shot at being approved. After all, Monsanto is the world's largest seed and trait manufacturer, while Syngenta is the largest agricultural chemical manufacturer. A combined company would dominate the global market.

A potential merger would be good news for Syngenta shareholders, which have been underwhelmed by growth in recent years. Since 2011 the company has grown revenue 14% and operating income just 5%. Monsanto, on the other hand, is expected to double EPS from 2014 levels by the year 2019 thanks to heavy investments in novel platforms spanning software and next-generation biotech tools.

In other words, a potential merger would bail out Syngenta shareholders from stagnating growth, but it may weigh on Monsanto margins and slow its impressive growth in return for higher revenue and earnings.

Now what: The former buyout price was $40 billion, yet, even with today's surge Syngenta is valued at just $36 billion. Given the company's well-founded concerns about antitrust laws, I'm not sure how Monsanto would sweeten the deal (how much higher than $40 billion can the latter afford?) or sell enough assets to appease regulators (and at what cost to shareholders?).

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Of course, it's important to note that at this point this is just a rumor, albeit one from sources that claim to have knowledge of discussions taking place behind closed doors. I wouldn't do anything differently if I were a shareholder, although this is certainly a situation to monitor going forward.

The article How Monsanto Pushed Syngenta AG (ADR) Shares 15% Higher Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out hispersonal portfolio,CAPS page,previous writingfor The Motley Fool, and follow him on Twitter to keep up with developments in the synthetic biology field.The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.