Monsanto shareholders at a special meeting Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in support of the St. Louis-based seed company’s $66 billion merger with German pharmaceuticals maker Bayer.
About 99 percent of all shareholder votes cast were in favor of the Bayer-Monsanto merger.
“We are pleased we received such strong support from our shareowners,” Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant said in a statement. “This is an important milestone as we work to combine our two complementary companies and deliver on our shared vision for the future of agriculture.”
Monsanto shares rose to about $105 following news of shareholder vote.
Under updated terms of the merger agreement, Monsanto shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash at the closing of the merger.
Bayer shareholders do not have to vote on the deal with Monsanto.
Officials from Bayer and Monsanto say the proposed deal will benefit global agriculture by effectively combining resources from Monsanto, a seed powerhouse, with those from Bayer, a leader in farm chemicals.
“The acquisition of Monsanto is driven by our strong belief that this combination can held address the growing challenges facing farmers and the overall agriculture industry today and in the future,” Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann said. “Together, Bayer and Monsanto will be able to offer the new, innovative solutions that our customers need.”
Although shareholders voted in support of the merger deal, Monsanto and Bayer still need to gain various regulatory approvals from dozens of different international jurisdictions such as the European Union.
Critics fear the deal will lead to diminished innovation in the global seeds and agrochemicals industries. According to research from Texas A&M University, a combined Bayer-Monsanto would control about 70 percent of the U.S. cotton seed market, for example.
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has repeatedly called for regulators to review the deal with careful scrutiny.
Despite concerns, the companies expect the deal — which is the largest-ever takeover of a U.S. company by a German firm — to close by the end of 2017.