AGs seek added protections before deal is approved
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and four other attorneys general urged the U.S. Department of Justice and a federal judge to add measures to protect farmers and consumers before the $66 billion merger of Bayer and Monsanto can take effect.
“Arriving so quickly after the Dow/DuPont and ChemChina/Syngenta mergers, the Bayer/Monsanto merger will further contract a highly consolidated market,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice. “The proposed final judgment risks creating a monopoly in the markets for certain vegetable seeds, as well as cotton and soybean seeds.”
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice gave Bayer and Monsanto permission to merge under a proposed settlement. As part of the deal, Bayer sold its seed and herbicide businesses to BASF. Public comment remains open for at least 60 days before the court may enter a final judgment on the acquisition.
Miller noted that the proposed decree fails to adequately protect agricultural markets, which play a central role in Iowa’s economy. The proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition for genetically modified corn, soybean, cotton and canola seeds, the attorneys general argued.
The attorneys general asked the court to prevent Bayer and Monsanto from reacquiring the assets it sold to BASF for at least 10 years. The added measures would also require the appointment of a trustee to monitor the agreement and study its impact, among other protections.
Miller joins the attorneys general of California, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Oregon in filing the comments.