Monsanto confirmed in a press release Monday that Bayer AG has upped its takeover offer.
The new offer comes after Monsanto granted the German pharmaceuticals manufacturer expanded access to key company financial records. Bayer’s new offer checks in at $127.50 per share, Monsanto reports. That figure calculates out to more than $65 billion.
Bayer previously offered $64 billion in July to buy the St. Louis-based seed company. At the time, that offer was the largest all-cash takeover bid on record.
In its press release, Monsanto officials described takeover talks with Bayer as “constructive,” but noted that the company was still evaluating proposals from other interested parties as well. Monsanto said it will have no further comment on negotiations and clarified that “there is no assurance that any transaction will be entered into or consummated.”
Bayer issued a similar press release on Tuesday.
According to Reuters, Bayer is still considering all options to acquire Monsanto, including striking a “friendly deal” at an increased cost or making a hostile play for the seed company. Some estimates project that Bayer will need to ultimately offer closer to $130 per share.
Even if Monsanto and Bayer eventual come to terms on a deal, there is no guarantee an agreement would hold up after international antitrust review. Combining Bayer’s crop science business with Monsanto’s seed platforms would make Bayer the top player in the rapidly consolidating agribusiness industry.
While exact negotiations terms are not yet known, it is likely Bayer would have to provide some sort of break-up fee in case the deal does not make it past antitrust hurdles. For example, when Monsanto was in talks to buy Syngenta last year, Monsanto offered a $3 billion break-up fee.
U.S. Justice Department files antitrust suit
Monsanto knows firsthand just how difficult it can be to move agribusiness mega-deals past government regulators.
The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Deere & Company’s proposed acquisition of Precision Planting, which is owned by Monsanto and its subsidiary Climate Corp.
The lawsuit is aimed at “preserving competition in the market for high-speed precision planting systems,” the Justice Department said in a news release. Deere and Precision Planting account for about 86 percent of the precision-planting market.
“Precision Planting has been a key innovator in high-speed precision planting and Deere’s only significant competitor in developing and selling these technologies,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “If this deal were allowed to proceed, Deere would dominate the market for high-speed precision planting systems and be able to raise prices and slow innovation at the expense of American farmers who rely on these systems.”
Deere announced in November that is reached a $190 million deal with Precision Planting.
Deere & Company is headquartered in Moline, Illinois, and is the largest manufacturer of planting equipment in the United States. In 2015, its U.S. sales for planter-related equipment were about $900 million.
Precision Planting is headquartered in Tremont, Illinois. Its 2015 U.S. sales for planter-related equipment were about $100 million.