"Bayer executives recently met with executives of Monsanto to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition of Monsanto Company," the Leverkusen-based company said in a statement.
Monsanto, for its part, "disclosed ... in response to recent media reports that it has received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Bayer AG for a potential acquisition of Monsanto, subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals and other conditions."
Both sides, however, stressed that the talks were only exploratory at this stage. "There is no assurance that any transaction will be entered into or consummated, or on what terms," Monsanto said, while Bayer insisted the talks were still only "preliminary" and "a further statement will be made as appropriate." The merger of these companies would create a global leader in the seeds and pesticides sectors.
It may be recalled that Switzerland-based Syngenta rejected an unsolicited offer from Monsanto last year. After failing to bid successfully for Syngenta, Missouri-based Monsanto embarked on a huge restructuring programme, sacking 3,600 employees, or 16 percent of its workforce by 2018. The company also closed sites and wrote down assets.
Monsanto employs about 20,000 workers and is considered as as one of the leading biotechnology companies in the world. "We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops - such as corn, soybeans, and cotton - that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently," the company said in its statement.