US agri-business giant Monsanto Co. rejected on Tuesday the $62 billion takeover bid by Germany’s Bayer AG as too low, but said it was willing to entertain further talks on a merger.
Monsanto chairman and chief executive Hugh Grant said in a statement that the offer “significantly undervalues our company” and does not give enough assurance on how Bayer would finance the deal or overcome possible regulatory challenges.
Monsanto’s board “unanimously views the Bayer AG proposal as incomplete and financially inadequate, but is open to continued and constructive conversations to assess whether a transaction in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be achieved,” the statement said.
Bayer made what amounts to the largest-ever takeover offer by a German company on Monday for the world leader in seeds, farm pesticides and genetically modified crops.
The $122 a share cash offer sent Monsanto shares surging but only to $106 amid expectations of Monsanto’s rejection and questions over whether Bayer would increase the bid. Bayer shares had tumbled on the news.
Monsanto’s shares were up 1.7% to $107.77 in early afternoon trade on Tuesday.
Bayer shares traded in Frankfurt had fallen last week on expectations of the proposal, and dropped another 5.7% to 84.42 euros ($94.09) on Monday.
With unconfirmed reports of Monsanto’s coming rejection already in the markets, Bayer shares rebounded 3.2% Tuesday to 87.15 euros.
The German giant, a global power in pharmaceuticals, consumer health products, and crop science, called the proposed merger “an extraordinary opportunity to create a global leader in the agricultural industry. Monsanto is a perfect match to our agricultural business”.
“The agriculture industry is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges of our time -- how to feed an additional three billion people in the world by 2050,” said Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the two companies would together account for around 28% of global sales of pesticides and herbicides.