By Jacob Bunge
Top executives of Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. met with President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday in New York to pitch the benefits of their planned deal.
Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann and Monsanto CEO and Chairman Hugh Grant outlined at the meeting Bayer's planned $57 billion purchase of Monsanto, agreed in September, representatives for the companies said.
The German pharmaceutical giant's planned purchase of Monsanto is one of three planned multibillion-dollar deals set to reshape the global seed and pesticide industry. While the companies have said that combining Bayer's broad portfolio of pesticides with Monsanto's sector-leading capabilities in seed engineering will accelerate breakthroughs in new crops and sprays, some farmers worry that the consolidation will boost the market power of the sector's biggest players and leave farmers with fewer choices for critical supplies, and higher prices.
Several members of Mr. Trump's agricultural advisory committee, formed to advise Mr. Trump on farm policy during last year's presidential campaign, have spoken out against the merger deals and called for the president-elect to block them. Mr. Trump has previously expressed skepticism about megamergers, including AT&T Inc.'s planned purchase of Time Warner Inc., but he hasn't weighed in on the agricultural deals.
Monsanto's Mr. Grant said in an interview last month that Monsanto hadn't engaged with the Trump transition team regarding the Bayer deal, but that the sale would translate to larger investment in research and development that would benefit farmers and create new jobs.
Bruce Rastetter, a member of Mr. Trump's agricultural committee and chief executive of Summit Agricultural Group, an Iowa-based grain and livestock farming operation, said he plans to raise his concerns about the mergers directly with Mr. Trump in the near future.
The meeting between the Bayer and Monsanto executives and Mr. Trump was reported earlier by Fox Business Network.
Beyond Bayer and Monsanto, China National Chemical Corp. is pursuing a $43 billion deal for Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG, while Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. are pursuing their own merger that would unite those companies' seed and crop chemical businesses.
Write to Jacob Bunge at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2017 15:36 ET (20:36 GMT)
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