Friday Bayer announced it signed an agreement with BASF to sell a portion of its crop science businesses for EUR 5.9 (about $7 billion).
The deal includes Bayer's global glufosinate-ammonium business and related LibertyLink businesses and the canola (North American and European), global cotton (excluding India and South Africa) and soybean seed businesses. BASF will take on 1,800 additional employees and will gain relevant intellectual property and facilities.
“This adds another player in the seed and crop protection industry,” says Dean Cavey, managing partner at Verdant Partners. “It is probably good for U.S. farmers.”
BASF joining the seed business marks another competitor to fight for farm dollars, and potentially keep prices in check.
“I look at it in two ways, first, farmers like and benefit from competition, and now we have another significant player entering the picture,” Cavey adds. “Second you have another major player that is dedicated to R&D and creation of new products.”
No small player either, BASF has the ability to keep up with the other big dogs in the seed and ag chemical industry as far as research and development goes. This could potentially lead to more innovation.
“Interesting to see this sale on the table as it in essence will create a third ‘genetics and chemistry’ company,” says Bob Young, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist. “While the scale will be at a different level than other companies, it adds a significant third company for our farmers to look to for new technologies and innovative production tools. We look forward to working with all three companies in the future.”
Right now, some farmers are keeping their focus on harvest before worrying too much about what this deal could mean for them. “We’ll just have to wait and see,” says Jeff Wheeler, corn and soybean farmer in Norborne, Mo. “We’ll know more when the dust settles.”