As the global agricultural sector races to consolidate, Bayer AG’s $66 billion all-cash deal to acquire Monsanto Co will test growing political and consumer unease in the United States and abroad over the future of food production. Bayer’s pesticide-focused agricultural business has few overlaps with Monsanto’s dominant seed franchise, according to the companies’ executives. Still, marrying two of the world’s top farm suppliers at a time when rivals are also merging is fueling concern over reduced competition in the $100 billion global market. Monsanto and Bayer “have chosen to do a deal in the year of merging dangerously,” said David Balto, a former policy director at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. “They are in for a tough time.”
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