Dow Chemical and DuPont have won the blessing of the European Union for their US$130 billion merger by agreeing to sell substantial assets including key research and development activities, Reuters reports.
The European Commission had been concerned that the merger of two of the biggest and oldest US chemical producers would leave few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides in the future. The deal is one of a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the industry and consolidate six companies into three.
Asset sales would ensure competition in the sector and benefit European farmers and consumers, the Commission said.
“We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“Our decision today ensures that the merger between Dow and DuPont does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation for safer and better products in the future.”
The two other big deals in the industry are ChemChina’s US$43 billion bid for Syngenta and Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto.
Dow and DuPont said they were still on target for US$3 billion in cost synergies and US$1 billion in growth benefits.
The deal is still to be approved by regulators in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and Canada, but the companies said they were confident of clearance in all remaining jurisdictions.
The EU approval may be a sign that US regulators would follow suit because the agencies have traditionally coordinated on reviews and remedies for large multinational mergers, said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute non-profit group.
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