The European Union’s antitrust review agency is set to approve the $43 billion deal between state-owned ChemChina and Swiss agrichemicals firm Syngenta, Reuters reported Thursday, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”
Neither ChemChina nor Syngenta has confirmed E.U. approval, however.
In mid-January, the companies reportedly offered minor concessions to better their deal’s chances of going through in Europe. The ChemChina-Syngenta deal is the largest-ever foreign takeover by a Chinese company, and regulators in Europe and several other jurisdictions need to first sign off on the deal to ensure it doesn’t pose a threat to competition.
According to Reuters, ChemChina will divest “a couple of national product registrations, including existing products and a few in the pipeline, in more than a dozen E.U countries.” The divestment will largely come from ChemChina-controlled assets and from Adama, an Israeli company and the largest supplier of generic crop protection products in Europe, Reuters also reported.
Records show that the European Commission on competition has set an April deadline to officially rule on the multibillion-dollar agribusiness deal.
The commission launched an in-depth probe to investigate the ChemChina-Syngenta deal in October.
“This deal would lead to the combination of a leading crop protection company with one of its main generic competitors,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, an official in charge of competition policy, in a statement. “Therefore we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or a reduced choice for farmers.”
In general, experts say that the E.U. antitrust approval process is more rigorous than the U.S. process.
Antitrust law in the United States is enforced by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.