BEIJING – China conditionally approved on Tuesday the acquisition of US seed firm Monsanto by German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer, a purchase which would allow the latter greater control over the non-selective herbicide and seed market in the country.
Bayer must also sell off some assets to comply with the Chinese Finance Ministry’s conditions for the sale.
The ministry said the acquisition of Monsanto would strengthen Bayer’s control over the non-selective herbicide market, in which the two companies together enjoyed a dominance over more than half of the industry.
The operation would also result in a fewer number of competitors in the seed market, the ministry warned.
To mitigate the impact on competition, the ministry asked Bayer to spin off some businesses related to the production of vegetables, maize, soy, cotton and herbicide seeds.
This measure must include its installations, personnel, intellectual property and other tangible and intangible assets, it said.
The Chinese ministry will discuss, along with other government departments, industry associations, consumers and experts in the sector, about the market conditions after the operation and what would be its composition and structure, under article 30 of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law.