Monsanto to Acquire Cargill’s International Seed Businesses
Monsanto Co. agreed Monday to buy Cargill Inc.'s international seed businesses for $1.4 billion, giving the leading plant biotechnology company a strong advantage in the emerging market for genetically enhanced crops. The transaction gives St. Louis-based Monsanto a worldwide distribution network for plant genes that confer insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, and intensifies pressure on rivals such as DuPont Co. and AgrEvo to make similar acquisitions.
“Monsanto now has a position which will make it almost impossible for someone else to overtake its lead,” said James Wilbur, an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, the largest closely held U.S. company, and Monsanto recently agreed to form a joint venture to develop genetically enhanced food and feed. The current purchase, which doesn’t include Cargill’s U.S. or Canadian seed businesses, won’t affect that deal, Monsanto said.
Monsanto is buying seed businesses in Central America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa from Cargill, which will also keep Cargill Agricultural Merchants in Britain. Cargill, the largest U.S. grain trading company, is one of the world’s leading producers of corn breeding seed grown for tropical climates.
Monsanto shares fell 81 cents to close at $56.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.