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US/Switzerland: Monsanto meets Syngenta investors to push buyout

 |  June 14, 2015

Monsanto the world’s largest seed company, met this week with Syngenta shareholders in a bid to pressure the Swiss rival into negotiations after a $45 billion takeover offer was rejected.

Monsanto Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann and Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley met Monday and Tuesday in Europe to discuss the merits of the bid with Syngenta investors, many of whom also own Monsanto shares, said Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy.

Some shareholders are frustrated the Basel, Switzerland-based company has refused to negotiate, he said.

Syngenta has snubbed Monsanto’s unsolicited offer of 449 Swiss francs ($480) a share, with 45 percent in cash, as too low and the execution risk too high. The bid represents a 43 percent premium to Syngenta’s share price at the close on April 30, just before Bloomberg News reported the proposal.

Monsanto said on Sunday it would pay a $2 billion breakup fee if regulators reject the deal, and it reiterated plans to sell overlapping seed and chemical units to overcome antitrust objections. Syngenta responded that its U.S. suitor has failed to convince it of the merits of a merger, calling the breakup fee “paltry” and saying the planned divestitures don’t resolve the regulatory issues.

Full content: The Wall Street Journal

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