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Bayer/Monsanto $62.5B mega deal wins EU conditional antitrust approval

The European Commission said it conditionally approved Bayer AG's proposed $62.5 billion takeover of Monsanto Co., the world's top seed supplier.

To satisfy the regulator's conditions, Bayer will sell certain businesses to German chemicals company BASF SE for €5.9 billion. These businesses include the global field crop seeds business such as canola, cotton and soybean, the research and development platform for hybrid wheat and the global vegetable seeds division.

German drug and crop chemicals maker Bayer will also divest its global glufosinate ammonium business as well as certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe, predominantly for industrial use.

Bayer will also sell three of its research projects for non-selective herbicides and will grant BASF license to its digital farming portfolio. The EC is set to decide on the BASF transaction April 16, Reuters reported.

The EC said its decision "ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets" following the merger. European antitrust regulators have extended the review of the proposed deal multiple times in the past over competition concerns.

Bayer has received approvals for the Monsanto deal from more than half of the some 30 regulators, including those in Brazil and China.

The acquisition is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Bayer said it is working closely with authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice, with hopes to close the deal in the second quarter.