Transnational agrochemical and seed giant Monsanto has reiterated its desire to merge with fellow chemical-producing behemoth Syngenta, a company that has already rebuffed three previous purchase attempts by Monsanto.
Announcing unexpectedly positive third quarter earnings late last
week, Monsanto said that it is still seeking ways to woo
Switzerland-based Syngenta AG in the former’s pursuit of a
“corporate inversion,” or a move overseas
to the UK to avoid higher tax rates in the United States.
Monsanto’s unsolicited attempts to buy Syngenta at a price of $45
billion included a proposed $2 billion termination fee to be paid
in the event an anti-trust regulator blocks the merger.
“Our proposal to combine with Syngenta is an exciting logical
next step for our business, offering the opportunity to
accelerate innovation and support a more diverse group of farmers
around the world,” Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant said in a
statement, according to the Associated Press.
Under the plan, Monsanto investors would end up with a 70 percent
holding in the UK company while investors in Syngenta would take
“The second proposal, which came much later, was easier to a
decision because it was really a ‘copy-paste’ of the first
proposal, so … the only difference was this break fee, which we
did not think was appropriate as well.”
In rejecting three Monsanto proposals, Syngenta
has gone as far as to publish letters Monsanto sent to the company.
Syngenta is the world’s largest crop chemical producer and
Monsanto, known for its genetically-modified (GM) seed regime,
makes Roundup, the popular glyphosate-based herbicide. In March,
glyphosate was classified as “probably” carcinogenic to humans by
a branch of the World Health Organization.
As the most powerful multinational biotech corporation today,
Monsanto has drawn the ire of farmers and consumers for
its firm grip on the global food chain. The company’s control and
advancement of GMO seeds is of prime concern, as they symbolize
the company’s consolidation of agricultural processes. This
consolidation has been blamed by some for a sharp spike in
suicide rates among Indian farmers, many of whom could not afford
to continue buying Monsanto’s Ready Roundup seeds used in tandem
with the company’s herbicide.
Monsanto’s track record has been scrutinized ever since it aided
US warfare in Vietnam. Agent
Orange was manufactured for the US Department of Defense
primarily by Monsanto Corporation, the use of which is estimated
to have killed and maimed around 400,000 while causing birth
defects for 500,000 children.
Scientific studies have linked the chemicals in
Monsanto’s biocides to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease,
autism, and cancer.
Biotech companies purport that GMOs are key to feeding the
world’s growing population, but this claim has been heavily
recent report found that GMO “seed companies’ investment
in improving yields in already high-yielding areas does little to
improve food security; it mainly helps line the pockets of seed
and chemical companies, large-scale growers and producers of corn
GMO crops and ingredients have been consumed in the US for more
than two decades. Large amounts of corn, soybeans, and canola
produced in the US are genetically engineered. As much as
75 percent of processed food made in the US contains GMO
Monsanto first introduced glyphosate weed killers in 1974. GMO
seeds have caused use of glyphosate to
increase immensely since the 1990s, according to US
Geological Survey data.
The effects of biochemicals on wildlife, including pollinators
such as honeybees and monarch butterflies, are also a point of
concern. For instance, since 1990, about 970 million of the
butterflies — 90 percent of the total population — have vanished
across the United States,
according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. At least part
of the blame rests on the boom in Roundup use. Roundup, the
herbicide marketed to farmers and homeowners as an effective
method for eliminating plants like milkweed, is widely blamed for
decimating the butterflies’ only source of food in the Midwest.
European Union, suspicions that neonicotinoids pesticides are
responsible for mass deaths among honeybees have led to bans on
This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.