UPDATE: More links to business community and consumer coverage of the potential impact of this merger - though rejected for now. Check those links out below.
A volatile market is a time when corporations look for ways to add value. For Monsanto, it appears the answer is to try to acquire Syngenta. Friday, Syngenta issued a statement acknowledging it had received an unsolicited proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company for CHF449 per share with about 45% cash, total cost would be $45 billion according to a Bloomberg report.
The price offered is 35% higher than Thursday's close in Zurich trading. Reuters also reports that both parties have been talking for some time, and even posits the potential for rival bidders.
In its statement, Michel Demare, Syngenta chairman, comments: " Syngenta is the world leader in Crop Protection, the number three in Seeds and the first company to introduce integrated solutions for growers. Monsanto’s proposal does not reflect the outstanding growth prospects of Syngenta’s integrated strategy and the significant future value potential of the company’s crop-focused innovation and market leading positions."
He notes that the company's current valuation is "affected by short term currency and commodity price movements" but notes the business outlook is strong. Key to that is Syngenta's growth in emerging markets which now account for more than 50% of sales. Demare credits the company's integrated stratecy, which he says has been successful in these markets where double digit growth was achieved in 2014 for the fifth straight year.
In addition, Demare points to the future: "Recently launched new products are achieving rapid sales growth globally as growers demand the latest technologies, and we have a strong pipeline of innovative crop protection products in development, which have total peak sales of over $3 billion."
Monsanto responded with a statement noting the company has "long respected and followed Syngenta`s business and believes combining the two companies would deliver significant value to all stakeholders, including shareholders. Creating a new company from the combination of Syngenta`s strengths and leadership in crop protection chemicals and Monsanto`s leadership in seeds, traits and information technology would form an integrated global leader in agriculture with comprehensive and complementary product portfolios, and an Ag-focused organization with enhanced abilities to develop and accelerate innovative solutions for growers. Monsanto believes the combined company would be uniquely positioned to deliver a comprehensive suite of integrated solutions to farmers around the world and to accelerate technological innovation through precision agriculture and advanced research and development capabilities aimed at increasing the world`s food supply in a sustainable fashion."
Monsanto added that it believes a combination would "deliver significant value to shareholders of both companies. The combination is expected to result in substantial synergies as the company delivers more integrated solutions to customers."
In addition the Monsanto notes that it has spend significant time and resources to analyzing the combination of the two companies and is "confident in its ability to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals."
According to a Globe and Mail report, Monsanto has been interested in acquiring Syngenta for some time. One initial driver there was the move to acquire Syngenta to redomicile - or change the corporate location - out of the United States for tax purposes. The U.S. Treasury has clamped down on such moves, so now the approach is more of a straight stock/cash purchase.
Syngenta has rejected the move in its latest statement. The industry is watching closely.
Others are talking about the potential of this merger - check out these links for more information: