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EU scrutinizes Monsanto takeover by Bayer

The EU Commission has announced it's opened an in-depth investigation into the mega takeover of Monsanto by Germany’s Bayer. Brussels said competition concerns had not been addressed sufficiently.

The European Commission said Tuesday it had launched a thorough investigation into a proposed $66-billion (56-billion-euro) takeover of US agrochemical company Monsanto by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

After a months-long pursuit in which it raised its offer prices several times, Bayer won over Monsanto's management for the buyout in September 2016.

But the EU executive said the merger could reduce competition in several areas as it would create the largest integrated pesticides and seed company in the world.

"Seeds and pesticide products are essential for farmers and ultimately consumers," Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Watch video 01:46

Will the Bayer-Monsanto merger come about?

Impact on farmers unclear

"We need to ensure effective competition so that farmers can have access to innovative products, better quality and also purchase products at competitive prices." she said.

Specifically, the European Commission voiced concerns that the merger could reduce competition in the development of useful traits in plants such as height, disease and herbicide tolerance.

The proposed takeover has been under scrutiny by competition watchdogs around the globe, with a request for US approval currently pending.

The planned merger has not been welcomed by environmentalists. Monsanto has been heavily criticized for its genetically modified produce and the use of glyphosate.

Watch video 01:40

US senat: Bayer and Monsanto officials defend proposed merger

hg/tr (AFP, dpa)

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