Monsanto is talking to Bayer AG and others about ''alternative strategic options,'' a month after the U.S. seed producer rejected the German company's $62 billion takeover offer. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Monsanto may have rejected Bayer's opening offer, but it's still open to making a deal, revealing the two companies have had ongoing talks for several weeks. The seed producer, which last month rejected the German pharma's $62 billion dollar takeover offer, says it is now talking to Bayer about "alternative strategic options". Monsanto had said the original offer was too low, but Bayer would not up the bid without reviewing Monsanto's confidential financial information. Greg Roumeliotis covers this story for Reuters. (SOUNDBITE) GREGORY ROUMELIOTIS, EDITOR, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Monsanto wants to keep its options open. So, they want to see if they can get a better offer from Bayer. They don't want to shun them. They'll still engage with them. But they also want to see what else is out there." But the numbers Bayer and other potential suitors are seeing present a challenging outlook: Monsanto net income tumbled 37 percent, with overall earnings well below estimates, pressured by low crop prices and belt-tightening by farmers. The seeds and agrochemincals industry is extremely active with mergers. Recent deals include ChemChina buying Syngenta for $43 billion in February, and Dow Chemical and DuPont striking a $130 billion mega merger last year.