Unilever Selling Seed Unit to Monsanto
Unilever said it has agreed to sell its Plant Breeding International unit to Monsanto Co. for $524 million in cash, the latest deal by St. Louis-based Monsanto to expand in the lucrative seed business. PBI produces and sells crop varieties worldwide and has significant breeding programs for winter wheat, barley, rapeseed oil, beans, peas and potatoes. London-based Unilever’s sale of the unit is part of its effort to focus on consumer goods and build its food, home and personal-care products businesses. The deal includes plant breeding operations in Scotland and France and a German affiliate. Monsanto itself agreed in June to be bought by American Home Products Corp. for $39 billion. Monsanto’s stock rose $1.81 to close at $55.56 on the NYSE.