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Bayer has cleared the last large antitrust hurdle on its path to finalize the $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto. On May 29, the U.S. Department of Justice gave the green light to the deal, provided that Bayer first wrap up its sale of $9 billion in seed and crop chemical businesses to German rival BASF. The Bayer-Monsanto deal was first announced in September 2016 but was held up by European regulators concerned about unfair competition in seeds and chemicals. As a result, Bayer arranged to sell a number of seed businesses to BASF. The sale will mark BASF’s entry into the seed business; it has been focused on seed coatings, herbicides, and fungicides. BASF will also get Bayer’s glufosinate herbicides and its LibertyLink trait, which makes crops tolerant to glufosinate. Lastly, BASF will buy some of Bayer’s seed treatment products, several herbicide R&D pipelines, and its digital farming business. Bayer says it expects its acquisition of Monsanto to close in about two months.
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