BASF’s Late Grab for Bayer Seed Assets Marks Strategy Shift

BASF SE historically has boasted one of the widest portfolios in the chemicals industry, including products as dissimilar as cassette tapes and ulcer treatment, writes Andrew Marc Noel and Aaron Kirchfeld on Bloomberg.com. But it took a not-so-gentle nudge from the $160 billion wave of consolidation sweeping the agrochemical industry for the company to finally embrace seeds.

Spurred into action by the $66 billion creation of DowDuPont Inc. and Bayer AG’s planned $66 billion takeover of seed maker Monsanto Co., the German maker of herbicides is bidding for a package of seed and chemical assets that Bayer needs to divest to win approval for its deal, according to people familiar with the matter. DowDuPont Inc. and Syngenta AG also are competing for Bayer’s canola, cotton and soybean seed varieties, as well as the Liberty herbicide system, which could be valued at more than $5 billion combined, the people said.

The mergers are creating integrated seed and agrochemical giants, forcing Ludwigshafen-based BASF to rethink its previous decision to shun seeds. Having explored combinations with DuPont and Monsanto in the past, BASF sees Bayer’s antitrust-driven asset sales as a way into the market at this late stage, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the bidding is private.

Read more at Bloomberg.com.

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