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"DuPont and Dow Chemical Co have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge on condition that the companies sell certain crop protection products and other assets, according to a court filing on Thursday. The asset sales required by U.S. antitrust enforcers were similar to what the companies had agreed to give up in a deal they struck with European regulators in March. The deal is one of several big mergers by farm suppliers, and the antitrust approval was quickly denounced by the head of the National Farmers Union, saying that farmers would face higher costs. The Justice Department said the asset sales would prevent price hikes or lost innovation...The president of the National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson called the antitrust approval "deeply disappointing." "Clearly, the Trump administration is content allowing our country’s consolidation complex to continue," Johnson said in a statement. "The combination of Dow and DuPont, coupled with other pending mergers, ... drives up costs for farmers’ inputs, and it reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete." The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, which share the work of antitrust enforcement, have reviewed or are reviewing no fewer than four deals involving corporate titans that supply U.S. farmers. In addition to Dow and DuPont merger deal, Bayer has a deal to buy Monsanto, and ChemChina is purchasing Syngenta. In addition, fertilizer companies Potash Corp and Agrium are planning a merger. After Dow completes the merger with DuPont, the companies have said that they would split into three separate companies specializing in material sciences, specialty products, and seeds and agrochemicals."

Posted June 16th, 2017