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Bayer-Monsanto would invest billions in U.S. if deal goes through

The original Monsanto was founded in St. Louis in 1901. Saccharine, an artificial sweetener, was that company's first product.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
The original Monsanto was founded in St. Louis in 1901. Saccharine, an artificial sweetener, was that company's first product.

Updated Jan. 17 with comments from Bayer, Monsanto and Trump administration - More details are emerging about Bayer's possible acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto. The companies and the incoming Trump administration on Tuesday provided some specifics about job numbers and investment levels.

In a joint statement, Bayer and Monsanto said there are plans to invest $16 billion in agricultural research and development over six years, with at least $8 billion of that in the United States.

Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer adds Bayer will keep all of Monsanto's U.S. workforce, which is more than 9,000 jobs and create another 3,000 high-tech positions in the U.S.

Some of those jobs could be coming to the St. Louis region. The companies say it all amounts to an "investment in the U.S. Heartland" and they have reiterated plans for the worldwide seeds research and development headquarters to be in St. Louis.

Original story from Dec. 16:

The massive acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer likely won't happen without both companies divesting some of their current product lines, which include seeds and herbicides.

That's the assessment of Saint Louis University Law Professor Tim Greaney, who used to work for the U.S. Justice Department's anti-trust division. Greaney was a guest Friday on St. Louis on the Air.

The original Monsanto was founded in St. Louis in 1901. Saccharine, an artificial sweetener, was that company's first product.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Monsanto and Bayer need regulatory approval in order to move forward with the acquisition of the St. Louis-based company.

He said regulators in more than 30 countries will examine the roughly $65 billion deal, including the U.S. and European Union.

"It will be a long, extended period of review - potentially litigation. It the parties can't agree on divestiture, the case can go to court. Justice right now is challenging two major mergers in the health insurance industry," Greaney told host Don Marsh.

Greaney said anti-trust regulators will be closely examining three areas where Monsanto and Bayer appear to overlap. He points to seeds, herbicides that protect seeds and traits, which essentially are the intellectual property rights to modification technology. He said that presents a problem under traditional anti-trust analysis.

"When you get over 30 or 40 percent of any market, the law says that's presumptively illegal. In this case, in some markets, the cotton seed market, the companies have over 70 percent of all of the seeds by acreage sold in the U.S.," Greaney said.

Greaney added that Bayer produces the main rival to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

Monsanto shareholders this week approved Bayer's acquisition of the St. Louis company. Bayer is expected to start filing documents with anti-trust regulators this month. Both companies say the deal is on track to close next year.

Follow Wayne on Twitter: @wayneradio

Copyright 2017 St. Louis Public Radio

Wayne Pratt is a veteran journalist who has made stops at radio stations, wire services and websites throughout North America. He comes to St. Louis Public Radio from Indianapolis, where he was assistant managing editor at Inside Indiana Business. Wayne also launched a local news operation at NPR member station WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana, and spent time as a correspondent for a network of more than 800 stations. His career has included positions in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Toronto, Ontario and Phoenix, Arizona. Wayne grew up near Ottawa, Ontario and moved to the United States in the mid-90s on a dare. Soon after, he met his wife and has been in the U.S. ever since.
Bill Raack