Field of Dreams

bayer montag 640-Arife Aksoy
Werner Bauman hopes to land the biggest deal ever for Bayer.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A takeover of Monsanto by Bayer would represent the biggest acquisition ever by a German company.

  • Facts


    • Leverkusen-based Bayer made a $62 billion offer for Monsanto on May 10, but the U.S. company said this was too low.
    • Bayer plans to issue new shares with a value of up to €14 billion and new loans worth up to $40 billion.
    • Bayer and Syngenta are the world’s biggest providers of pesticides, while Monsanto is the global leader in seeds and genetically-modified crops.
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These days, Werner Baumann is spending more times on planes than in his office, meeting with regulators, investors, shareholders and anyone who could possibly undermine his plans to buy rival Monsanto.

The 53-year-old chief executive has a lot of talking to do to convince everyone that the mega merger is good for Bayer, good for Monsanto and good for farmers who buy seeds and agricultural chemicals from both firms.

The $62 billion offer is not only a big deal for Mr. Baumann, who made the surprise announcement just three weeks into his new job as chief executive; it’s the largest takeover bid by a German company ever, dwarfing the $36 billion automaker Daimler spent on Chrysler in 1998.

That takeover, by the way, unwound nearly a decade later when the German carmaker sold its U.S. acquisition to the turnaround fund Cerberus at a fraction of the price paid for it. The deal, dubbed “a marriage made in heaven,” turned out to be “a marriage in hell.”

Daimler’s trans-Atlantic fiasco should serve as a warning to Mr. Baumann that his offer to Monsanto is far from a done deal and is not without its risks.

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