Monsanto, Syngenta drama still going strong

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Photo by Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Red genetically engineered soybean seeds.

St. Louis-based seed company Monsanto’s attempts to merge with Swiss chemical business Syngenta are still going strong – even though Syngenta deemed Monsanto’s latest offer “inadequate.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has followed the ongoing saga closely. On June 14, it reported that taxes will likely be key to a takeover:

Monsanto doesn’t seem to be pursuing Syngenta only for the tax advantages, but it probably can’t afford to buy its Swiss rival without them.

U.S. politicians are already criticizing the structure of the deal, some details of which emerged last week as the companies argued about whether it is good for Syngenta shareholders. The deal appeared to be stalemated at week’s end, with Monsanto saying it couldn’t raise its $45 billion bid without access to confidential information and Syngenta refusing to provide that access.

Analysts see a good chance Monsanto will eventually win, either by persuading Syngenta shareholders or by simply offering more money.

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In an earlier report last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reported that Congress has begun paying attention to Monsanto’s merger advances:

Congress has taken notice of a potential merger between Creve-Coeur-based Monsanto and Syngenta, especially the possibility that whatever emerges could be headquartered overseas.

Some Democrats are decrying that possibility as tax avoidance. But Republicans — and some Democrats — say such a move is understandable given high U.S. corporate tax rates, and they are more concerned that research and other jobs not follow any headquarters relocation.

Both Missouri’s senators — Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill — said Wednesday they believed that whatever came of the talks was not likely to cost Missouri jobs.

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