Bayer $66B Monsanto deal still faces Trump administration scrutiny

Bayer won European Union (EU) approval of its $66 billion takeover of Monsanto provided that it divest certain seed and pesticide assets, but the deal is still being reviewed by President Donald Trump’s Justice Department.

The European Commission, the EU's administrative arm, said Wednesday that Bayer has committed to removing any existing overlaps in the seed and pesticide markets by divesting the relevant Bayer businesses and assets. Monsanto’s stock edged up on the news.

“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a news release.

Bayer has agreed to sell certain seed and herbicide assets for 5.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to BASF and to license global digital farming data. Bayer also plans to divest its vegetable seeds business to BASF.

“Receipt of the European Commission’s approval is a major success and a significant milestone,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a statement.

The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division doesn’t think Bayer’s proposal to sell businesses is sufficient to maintain competition, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg last week. A final decision by the government is probably months away.

As FOX Business reported, Trump decided last week to block Singapore-based Broadcom’s $117 billion bid to acquire Qualcomm on national security grounds. Qualcomm, a leader in wireless technology including 5G connectivity, had rejected Broadcom’s bids