April 20, 2018 / 8:47 AM / a year ago

Russian nod moves Bayer closer to wrapping up Monsanto deal

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto logo is displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S. on May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo -

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Russia’s antitrust regulator FAS has approved Bayer’s BAYGN.DE planned takeover of Monsanto MON.N, the German drugs and crop chemicals maker said, as it enters the home stretch to closing the $62.5 billion deal.

Russia was one of the few jurisdictions to be won over, after the European Commission last month gave conditional clearance and after a source said Bayer struck an agreement in principle with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Bayer has agreed to enable the transfer of defined technologies to Russian recipients in the area of seeds breeding and digital farming for a period of five years,” the company said in a statement.

As part of these concessions, it would share some genetic know-how on corn, wheat, oil seed rape, soybean and vegetable seeds. It would also grant “non-discriminatory” access to digital farming technologies once they were available in Russia, Bayer said.

Bayer in February took Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) to court over the review procedure, in a bid to win more time to discuss the regulator’s demands.

Earlier this week, the German group raised 3 billion euros (£2.62 billion) by selling a 3.6 percent stake to Singapore’s state investment company, with further moves expected to increase its capital.

Bayer previously said it would only launch a cash call once it had sufficient clarity that the deal, signed in September 2016, would get the go-ahead.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Edmund Blair

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