The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto (MON), Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, are in New York pressing their case with President-elect Donald Trump to approve the massive merger between the two entities and to tout the creation of U.S. jobs if the deal goes through, people with direct knowledge of the matter tell the FOX Business Network.
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The meeting between the two CEOs and Trump at his transition headquarters in midtown Manhattan took place during a busy day for the President-elect. Earlier he held his first press conference since winning the 2016 election and answered thorny questions about everything from a Russian hacking scandal to plans to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Baumann and Grant left Trump Tower on Wednesday around 2pm ET with investment banker Michael Kramer of Ducera Partners and media specialist Arthur Schwartz. The CEOs are the latest chiefs of multinational companies to tout their business plans in the U.S. and their willingness to work with the President elect to create jobs.
"Today, Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, had a productive meeting with President-Elect Trump and his team to share their views on the future of the agriculture industry and its need for innovation," a Monsanto spokesperson told FOX Business.
A spokesperson for Bayer could not immediately be reached for comment; a Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
The pending deal, terms of which were first reported by FOX Business in September, needs regulatory approval from the European Union and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division when President-elect Trump takes office later this month.
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During the meeting, both CEOs touted their plans to create or keep jobs in the U.S., though the exact nature of those efforts could not be immediately determined, these people say. It’s also immediately unclear how Trump responded to their plans during the meeting. The CEOs are hoping that the prospect of additional U.S. jobs coming from the merger will be enough incentive for the incoming Trump administration to approve the acquisition.
Since the merger was announced, investors have grown increasingly concerned over the deal getting the necessary regulatory approvals to proceed given the size of the combined entity and the possible antitrust concerns it could produce.
Another potential stumbling block for the deal is Monsanto’s status as the largest producer of genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs – a technology that can mass produce food at a relatively low cost. The seed-producing giant has received a wave of criticism from those who believe the development of these crops could lead to severe health problems for those who consume them.
Critics believe teaming up with Bayer would further enhance Monsanto’s GMO business.
But a more business friendly Trump administration may be amenable to embracing the deal, particularly with the added incentive that both CEOs are committed to creating jobs in the United States.
Since winning the election, Trump has used impromptu press conferences from his Trump Tower transition headquarters as a bully pulpit to press corporate chieftains to create and keep jobs in the U.S. In December, Trump met with the chief executive of telecommunication conglomerate SoftBank Group, touting a deal to bring thousands of jobs to the U.S., even if plans were largely crafted before the election.
This week, Trump met with the CEO of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, who promised he would help create one million U.S. jobs by allowing small American businesses to sell their products through Alibaba’s platform.