St. Louis, MO—In June, WholeFoods Magazine reported on business correspondence from agricultural mega-company Monsanto, based here, regarding a proposed merger with Swiss seed company Syngenta (see the original news story here). Monsanto has officially dropped its roughly $46 billion bid, following the communication of a revised proposal on August 18th.
In an official statement from Monsanto, it was said that while “Monsanto Company continues to believe a combination with Syngenta would have created tremendous value for shareowners of both companies and farmers,” communication from Syngenta saying that its “financial expectations” were not met with the new proposal, something that had been previously mentioned in Syngenta’s past rejections of a possible merger. In light of this development, Monsanto representatives said that the company would now focus on opportunities in its core business, while resuming “implementation of its approved share repurchase program as soon as practical.”
The Board of Syngenta confirmed that a verbal proposal was offered to the company, but was rejected, saying “After engaging with Monsanto on their latest approach, the Board unanimously rejected their revised proposal. It significantly undervalued the company and was fraught with execution risk. Furthermore, recent market volatility highlighted the significant risk for Syngenta shareholders resulting from the structure of this proposal.” Four main points Syngenta said Monsanto failed to provide proper clarity on were their estimate of total cost and revenue synergies, their assumptions regarding net sales proceeds of seeds and traits, the nature and extent of regulatory covenants that they were prepared to offer, and the assessment of risks and benefits from a tax inversion to the United Kingdom. One of the earlier proposals for a merger suggested that Monsanto take a different name and move operations to the U.K.
Syngenta chairman Michel Demaré remarked that having taken note of Monsanto’s decision, “our Board is confident that Syngenta's long-term prospects remain very attractive with a leading portfolio and a promising pipeline of new products and technologies. We are committed to accelerate shareholder value creation.”