US agribusiness giant Monsanto has rejected a multi-billion takeover bid by German pharma and crop science firm Bayer, saying the offer was too low. However, they were open to further talks on a merger, they said.
Monsanto chairman and chief executive Hugh Grant said in a statement Tuesday, the offer "significantly undervalues our company" and would not give "enough assurance" as to how Bayer would finance the $62-billion (56-billion-euro) deal.
In addition, the St. Louis, Mo.-based company raised concern over how Bayer wanted to overcome possible regulatory challenges.
"Monsanto's board unanimously views the Bayer AG proposal as incomplete and financially inadequate, but is open to continued and constructive conversations to assess whether a transaction in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be achieved," the statement said.
The proposed merger between Bayer and Monsanto would have been the largest-ever takeover offer by a German company.
Bayer's $122 a share cash offer sent Monsanto shares surging on Monday, but only to $106 amid expectations of Monsanto's rejection. Bayer shares had tumbled on the news.
With unconfirmed reports of Monsanto's coming rejection already in the markets, Bayer shares rebounded 3.2 percent Tuesday to 87.15 euros.
The German agribusiness company had called the proposed merger "an extraordinary opportunity to create a global leader in the agricultural industry. Monsanto is a perfect match to our agricultural business."
According to industry figures, the two companies would together account for around 28 percent of global sales of pesticides and herbicides.
uhe/jd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)