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US: Senator expresses concern about ag-tech mergers

 |  August 18, 2016

Two major mergers in agricultural technology and seeds could hurt competition in the industry and make it harder for smaller companies to compete, Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a letter on Wednesday sent to antitrust enforcers.

Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, urged the Federal Trade Commission, which is reviewing the purchase of Syngenta AG by the China National Chemical, and the Justice Department, which is looking at the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont, to coordinate on the two reviews.

“It is important that these transactions not be reviewed in isolation,” wrote Grassley. “I urge the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to collaborate, as appropriate, with input from the Department of Agriculture, in their analysis of the agricultural biotechnology and seed industry and the impact of these proposed transactions.”

Dow and DuPont said in December that they would combine in an all-stock merger with plans to then break into three separate businesses. In February, China’s state-owned ChemChina made a $43 billion bid for Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta.

The deals by some of farmers’ biggest global suppliers concerned Grassley, who represents a largely agricultural state.

“I am concerned that the convergence of these proposed transactions – as well as others currently being discussed – will have an enhanced adverse impact on competition in the industry and raise barriers to entry for smaller companies,” he wrote.

Full Content: Reuters

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