President Donald Trump’s support of German pharmaceutical company Bayer’s purchase of seed and agriculture company Monsanto is exciting Wall Street investors.
The estimated $57 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger still needs approval by anti-trust regulators, but Trump’s blessing has been helpful to push the deal through.
Bayer and Monsanto “are getting closer and closer to completion,” Jim Nelson, portfolio manager at one of Bayer’s shareholder firms Euro Pacific Capital, told the Wall Street Journal. “The meeting with Trump was an incremental positive.”
The principals of the two companies met with then-President-elect Trump in January to tout the merger and promise significant job creation for the U.S.
“Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, had a productive meeting with President-Elect Trump and his team to share their views on the future of the agriculture industry and its need for innovation,” a Monsanto spokesman told FOX Business after the Jan. 11 meeting. (RELATED: Monsanto CEO Asks Trump To Bless Mega-Merger)
Bayer needs approval from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as the European Commission to proceed with the merger, but having Trump’s blessing should help with the U.S. regulatory approval.
“They’ve been managing it in a smart manner,” Fabrice Theveneau of Lyxor Asset Management, another Bayer shareholder, he told WSJ. “If you can get access to the ‘Big Man’ directly, it obviously helps.”
Critics of the deal, including some farm groups, say the merger will harm agriculture by stifling competition in the seed business.
“There will almost certainly be much less competition in the marketplace, and as a direct result of that farmers will end up paying higher prices than they otherwise would be paying,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, a Washington, D.C. farm lobbying firm, told the Wall Street Journal.
The merger will also face a difficult road in Europe, where anti-GMO groups strongly opposes Monsanto’s genetic modification of seeds, and production of chemicals and pesticides like Round-Up and glyphosate.
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