Bayer merger with Monsanto face hurdles

(Reuters) —Bayer’s plan to win antitrust approval to buy Monsanto Co. has not satisfied U.S. officials.

The officials are worried the US$62.5 billion merger could hurt competition, news outlet Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. Department of Justice wants Bayer to divest more assets to satisfy its conditions, and does not think the German chemical company’s current proposal is sufficient, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A Bayer spokesperson said it remains in talks with regulators to help close the deal in the second quarter of the year.

Bayer had pledged to sell certain seed and herbicide assets for US$7.26 billion to BASF to address EU regulatory concerns and has separately offered to sell its vegetable seeds business to BASF.

The company has secured an approval from Brazilian regulators for the merger, and is expected to win conditional antitrust approval from the European Union.

Bayer also has conditional approval from China’s commerce ministry.

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