ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co. shareholders on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $57 billion merger with Bayer AG, a deal that would combine two of the world’s biggest agricultural firms.
Preliminary results showed that 99 per cent of all votes cast favoured the merger announced in September, St. Louis-based Monsanto said. Shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash at the closing of the merger, which must still receive regulatory approval. Monsanto said the deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.
Monsanto shares rose 40 cents to $104.99 in morning trading.
“This is an important milestone as we work to combine our two complementary companies and deliver on our shared vision for the future of agriculture,” Monsanto Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant said in a statement.
Bayer, the German medicine and farm-chemical maker, and Monsanto, maker of seeds, herbicides and pesticides among other agricultural products, have faced concern from some government and ag industry leaders who worry the merger will hurt farmers by reducing competition at a time when the agriculture economy has slowed.
The National Farmers Union has said the merger would mean that three companies would have more than 80 per cent of U.S. corn seed sales and 70 per cent of the global pesticide market.
Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said in a statement that the vote “underscores NFU’s concern that these megadeals are being made to benefit the shareholders … ”