Monsanto Says It No Longer Sees `Large-Scale' M&A as a Strategy

April 6, 2016 09:42 AM

Monsanto Co. said it no longer sees "large-scale" mergers and acquisitions as a strategy, signaling the end of any lingering ambition to make another bid for Syngenta AG or another major crop-chemicals or seeds business.

Speaking Wednesday on the St. Louis-based company’s second-quarter earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant said Monsanto will instead focus on research and development as well as commercial partnerships to generate growth.

“We believe the industry will continue to rationalize, focusing investment to the higher-return options,” he said. “We now see this translating into further R&D or commercial partnerships for which we are uniquely positioned to participate and no longer see large-scale M&A as a likely opportunity.”

Monsanto was exploring potential deals with BASF SE and Bayer AG, people with knowledge of the matter said in March. Monsanto’s unsolicited $43.6 billion proposal to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s largest pesticide producer, was rejected by the Swiss company in August.

China National Chemical Corp. said in February that it reached a deal to buy Syngenta, the biggest deal so far in what is a wave of consolidation in the seed and crop-chemical industry. Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. announced in December they would merge before breaking into three separate entities, including a Monsanto-sized agriculture company.

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