Ag Lawyers: Bayer/Monsanto Have Most Legal Hurdles to Clear

September 15, 2016 12:43 PM

Regulators will review the takeover at both the U.S Justice Department and the EU Since the details have surfaced. Of course, news of this deal sweeping across the industry. 

Leaders for both Bayer and Monsanto striking a confident tone Wednesday, adamant the deal can get the necessary approvals. Despite that optimism, Agricultural Law and Taxation experts tell us this possible takeover will more than likely have the most hurdles to clear out of all the other pending major Ag. mergers. 

It's a purchase Bayer and Monsanto hope to be completed by the end of 2017. 

"With the analysis we've done with our advisors, we feel confident that we can conclude that transaction within that timeframe," says Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant. 

But Legal Expert Roger McEowen says there are plenty of hurdles to clear. That's because it involves regulators in both the European Union and the U.S. Justice Department. That's not to mention both country's clashing views on GMOs. 

"That is going to be a major sticking point as the EU considers this deal. As we know, Monsanto has been out in front on GMO technology. That alone is going to be a major point, not so much on the U.S. side, but the EU side of this proposed deal," says Agricultural Law and Taxation Expert and Washburn Law School Professor, Roger McEowen. 

McEowen says there were six companies competition on the global marketplace in crops and seeds in 2015.

There will be four if the deal goes through. McEowen says there could be a clash of corporate cultures.

Whichever culture is adopted could impact the future of GMOs. 

"Whatever culture results, whether it's more the Bayer approach in Europe or Monsanto in the United States, that resulting culture will impact the global food chain particularly with respect to GMOs," says McEowen. 
The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing next week on the Ag-Mega Merger trend. It will include testimony from leaders with Bayer, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta. 

"The most important thing is to put pressure on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission that our anti-trust laws are fully enforced," says Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. 

Approvals from lawmakers is one thing, winning hearts in the countryside is another. 
Albion, Nebraska farmer, Dave Warner says, "I think that's a major concern as a grower that we're going to have to be paying what they want us to pay. That's on the farmer side of it. On the backside, innovation will probably be a lot better. We'll probably get stuff faster to the industry that we need." 

Farm Groups are already taking side. The National Farmers Union says this is the fifth major deal in the Ag. in the last year. It's calling on Washington Leaders to review the ongoing consolidation.

American Farm Bureau Federation Economist, Bob Young said in a statement, "The Farm Bureau believes the Department of Justice should undertake a close review of the overall business climate t hat has encouraged these combinations rather than evaluating them in isolation. Consumers must continue to have fair access to the best technologies and innovation." 

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