(Updated April 27, 2017) Confirmation testimony expected on Wednesday has been delayed due to missing paperwork.
President Donald Trump’s pick for the country’s top antitrust position — and key regulator for the $66 billion deal between Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. — is expected to give his confirmation testimony on Wednesday.
Makan Delrahim, a former corporate lobbyist who also served as legal counsel to the president, was nominated to lead the Justice Department’s review of mergers and acquisitions on March 27. If confirmed, Delrahim will be charged with reviewing a wave of mega-mergers that includes the Bayer-Monsanto deal and also a $130 billion agreement between Dow Chemical and DuPont.
As top antitrust cop, his actions could shape the business competition climate for years to come.
In the past, Delrahim has said that he will uphold antitrust law, but will not go after companies simply based on their size.
On Tuesday, a group of 80 farmer, consumer and environmental groups — most of which are against the deal between Bayer and Monsanto — sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for careful consideration on Delrahim’s confirmation.
“Farmers are facing extreme pressure in the market from the low commodity prices they are receiving for their products,” said Mike Weaver, president of the Organization for Competitive Markets, in the letter. “If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is allowed, not only will they see further pressure from their input costs, but our nation will be turning over access to these inputs to foreign corporations and interests.”
The groups said that Delrahim will likely be the “ultimate decider” for the industry-changing deal.
Research from Texas A&M University found that the price of corn and soybean seed could increase by about 3 percent if current agribusiness deals are finalized.
Executives from Bayer and Monsanto have said that the deal between the German pharmaceuticals maker and the St. Louis-based seed giant will strengthen the companies’ ability to innovate by combining research and development efforts. Additionally, the deal would avoid intense concentration by joining together different market segments and not those that directly compete with each other, according to the companies.