from the seeds-of-a-takeover dept.
Monsanto announced that it has received an unsolicited purchase offer from Bayer AG. The offer is under consideration by Monsanto's board of directors. The companies are both major sellers of pesticides and of seeds for crops. Monsanto's market capitalisation on 18 May was $42.43 billion.
According to Dow Jones Business News via NASDAQ:
Folding Monsanto's world-leading seed franchise and its trademark Roundup herbicide business into Bayer would create a company with a combined $68 billion in annual sales, marketing products ranging from Aspirin pain-relief pills to crop genetics that enable plants to withstand bugs and weedkillers. The combination would sell about 28% of the world's pesticides and about 36% of U.S. corn seeds and 28% of soybean seeds, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Motley Fool
- New York Times (older story)
- Bloomberg (older story)
- USA Today (older story)
- Fierce Pharma (older story)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (older story)
- MarketWatch (older story)
Cartoonist Fired for Criticizing Big Agriculture
Food Politics reports that Rick Friday, a long time cartoonist for Farm News, was dismissed for offending "a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in a cartoon." The political cartoon is critical of Big Ag CEOs, which earned more than 2,000 Iowa farmers combined.
In a Facebook post the cartoonist, Rick Friday, explained:
I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News due to the attached cartoon which was published yesterday. Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It's Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.
I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.
That's okay, hopefully my children and my grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa, will shine light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.
The CEOs at the ag giants earned about $52.9 million last year, based on Morningstar data. Monsanto and DuPont, the parent of Johnston-based Pioneer, are large seed and chemical companies, and Deere is a large farm equipment manufacturer.
Profits for the three companies, all with large operations across Iowa, also have declined as farm income has been squeezed. After peaking in 2013, U.S. farm income this year is projected to fall to $183 billion, its lowest level since 2002.
It seems like in the U.S. you free to say what you like, but if you offend the wrong people you're free to lose your job despite the protections you are provided and encouraged to use.
The Guardian reports that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed bank near Longyearbyen on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, has flooded due to "melting and heavy rain." The seeds remain safe, according to the article.
Researchers Identify Remains of 14,000-Year-Old Seeds: Fava Bean
Syrian Seed Bank Gets New Home Away From War
Bayer AG Offers to Buy Monsanto
30,000-Year-Old Giant Virus 'Comes Back to Life'
An Isolated Vault Could Store Our Data on DNA for 2 Million Years .
Giant Crater in Russia's Far North Sparks Mystery
30,000 Year Old Virus Revived
These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead.
And soon Monsanto will be no more. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant and pesticide powerhouse, announced in 2016 it would be buying Monsanto in an all-cash deal for more than $60 billion. Now, as the merger approaches, Bayer has confirmed what many suspected: In the merger, the politically charged name "Monsanto" will be disappearing. The combined company will be known simply as Bayer, while product names will remain the same. The move is not exactly a surprise — it makes sense that Bayer might want to weed out some of the intense negative associations associated with the Monsanto brand. In a way, it's an indication of how successful anti-Monsanto protesters have been in shaping public perception.
In the company's latest statement, Bayer implicitly acknowledged how hostile debates over genetically modified crops and other agricultural products have become. "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," the chairman of Bayer's board of management, Werner Baumann, said in the statement. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It's the only way to build bridges."
Also at Reuters.
Roundup: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
RoundUp Glyphosate Found to Cause Kidney Failure and Elude Tests
Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
GMO Grass That 'Escaped' Defies Eradication, Divides Grass Seed Industry
Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage