Monsanto (Predictably) Rebuffs Bayer

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Bayer said Tuesday that it was not surprised that its $62 billion offer to acquire Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) was declined, but the German firm is pleased that Monsanto is open to further discussion. Given the reaction to the buyout from Bayer’s shareholders, though, Monsanto’s rejection may be a blessing in disguise.

Monsanto said the $122 per share bid undervalues the company and that it is not confident either in Bayer’s ability to finance a deal of this size or of Bayer’s ability to weave its way through the coming regulatory roadblocks.

Analysts at Jefferies maintained their Buy rating on Monsanto stock Wednesday morning and raised their price target to $132. That does not seem out of line, provided that another bidder turns up. The usual suspect for that is BASF, but that company has remained squarely in the shadows so far.

Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said:

We believe in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society, and we have long respected Bayer’s business.


To which Bayer CEO Werner Baumann replied:

We are pleased that Monsanto’s board shares our belief in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society. We are confident that we can address any potential financing or regulatory matters related to the transaction.

Monsanto’s stock traded up more than 3% early Wednesday’s, at $112.90 in a 52-week range of $81.22 to $120.00.