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Monsanto yields specifics on proposed DP&L acquisition

With Monsanto's Aug. 15 announcement of plans to acquire the Scott, Mississippi-based Delta and Pine Land (D&PL) Company for $1.5 billion, the acquisition process is in the regulatory stage and moving as planned, according to Monsanto's Director of Public Affairs John Raines.

“We have filed with the appropriate regulatory bodies to have the acquisition reviewed from an anti-competitive, anti-trust standpoint and those efforts are now underway. The review is moving exactly as it should be,” he said. “The review will take several months and we are very comfortable with that.” The U.S. Justice Department is charged with the acquisition review.

If the acquisition is completed, Raines confirmed that Monsanto fully intends to divest its Stoneville and NexGen brands. “The Emergent business that we purchased a little over a year ago will be divested once the acquisition is complete and meets all regulatory hurdles.” Monsanto is discussing the potential sale with several interested buyers.

Monsanto is preparing for the sale of the Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company by identifying the Stoneville people and assets that are important to the business, Raines noted. The employees likely to be affected have been offered retention packages to ensure that they are available to serve customers of the new Stoneville business.

“Until the D&PL purchase is finalized, the Stoneville Company will operate in a business as usual environment, competing vigorously for the growers' business by providing growers high quality seed with their preferred traits,” Raines said.He noted that Monsanto's acquisition would not eliminate access to VIP-COT and GAT technology.

“Monsanto did not seek to acquire D&PL to gain any control over those other traits,” said Raines. “Although D&PL has been working with Syngenta and DuPont to develop alternative herbicide tolerance and insect resistance traits, the transaction would not give Monsanto the ability to block further development or licensing of those alternate traits.”

Syngenta and DuPont, owners of the technologies, would determine the fate of the traits and the transaction would not impede their ability to license others to use the traits, Raines stated. The Stoneville business that Monsanto would divest would be free to use those traits if Syngenta and DuPont wanted to make them available.

“If Syngenta and DuPont want to enable Monsanto to do so, Monsanto would be interested in being able to offer D&PL varieties with those traits to growers who want that option,” said Raines.

Monsanto has not discussed with D&PL any potential closing of D&PL facilities, he said. Only minor changes are predicted.

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