The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division says it will allow Bayer’s $66 billion purchase of Monsanto. The companies reached a settlement with the DOJ that involves Bayer selling some seed and chemical assets to BASF, another big player in both sectors. The Bayer-Monsanto merger will create the world’s largest seed and chemical company, further concentrating an already extremely consolidated industry. OSA’s Director of Advocacy Kiki Hubbard released the following statement:
Though not surprising, the Department of Justice’s decision to allow the Bayer and Monsanto merger is deeply disturbing. If history has taught us anything, it’s that the approval of this seed industry merger will lead to less choice and higher prices for American farmers. We believe this decision also makes our food system more vulnerable, because seed is different from other agricultural inputs – it’s a living, natural resource that demands careful management as society and seed adapt to rapidly changing climates and agricultural challenges and opportunities. Reducing the number of competitive players in the industry, which inevitably leads to less genetic diversity in our fields and marketplace, is simply bad public policy.
The divestiture deal announced today does nothing to quell concerns about the negative consequences this merger will have on farmers. Selling assets to the next largest player is simply an act of reshuffling a few cards at the top of the deck and will not change the current industry structure. The lack of antitrust law enforcement is disgraceful and demonstrates a startling disregard for the long-term success and sustainability of American agriculture.
Contact: Kiki Hubbard, (406) 544-8946