BRUSSELS, March 21 (Reuters) - German conglomerate Bayer won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $62.5 billion buy of U.S. peer Monsanto, the last of a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the agrochemicals industry.
The tie-up is set to create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.
Driven by shifting weather patterns, competition in grain exports and a faltering global farm economy, Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta had earlier led the wave of consolidation in the sector.
Environmental and farming groups have opposed all three deals, worried about their power and their advantage in digital farming data, which can tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilise and pick crops based on algorithms.
The European Commission said Bayer addressed its concerns with its offer to sell a swathe of assets to boost rival BASF confirming a Reuters story on Feb. 28.
“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”
Bayer has already reached a deal to sell certain seed and herbicide assets for 5.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to BASF and to give it a license to its global digital farming data. It will also divest its vegetable seeds business to BASF.
The Commission is due to decide on the BASF deal by April 16.
China has given conditional approval to the Bayer and Monsanto deal, which has won the green light in Brazil. It is currently being reviewed by U.S. and Russia antitrust authorities. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Robin Emmott)