German chemical and pharmaceuticals company, Bayer, has made a 66 billion dollar offer to buy American company Monsanto. If this deal goes through it will create the largest chemical and pesticides company in the world.
The Bayer company, based in Barmen, Germany, is a pharmaceuticals and chemical company dealing mainly in human and veterinary pharmaceuticals. According to their website, bayer.ca, Bayer “researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative products for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.”
On the other hand, Monsanto, an American company based in Missouri, is the world’s largest grossing seed and chemical company and is also a world leader in the production of GMO’s or genetically modified organisms. Together these two companies will form the largest agrochemical and pharmaceutical company in the world.
According to the CBC, on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, after five months of discussion, Monsanto has agreed to sell to Bayer for 66 billion dollars. This deal is the largest all cash transaction on record and also includes a two billion dollar fee that Bayer will pay to Monsanto should the deal not go through. According to Reuters, Bayer expects the deal to be closed by the end of 2017.
What the name of this new company would be is still under discussion, according to Bayer.
However, whatever the name of this new corporation will be, the merger could have profound effects on the food industry and people in general. This proposed takeover could potentially introduce GMOs into Europe where they have been previously banned. Many European organizations, including Friends of the Earth, a network of international environmental organisations, have called this takeover “a marriage made in hell,” saying that this new “mega corporation” will do its best to force pesticides and GMO seeds into Europe according to the Guardian.
But why is this a concern to Canadians and Americans when this takeover is happening in Europe? Farmers all over North America have found themselves in conflict with Monsanto over seeds, pesticides and numerous other issues.One main area of conflict, according to the Independant, is Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a herbicide that can only be used on Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds. Even farmers who do not grow Monsanto GMO crops have found themselves in conflict with the company and have lost thousands of dollars after another farmer’s seeds have blown onto their field. Many farmers who grow for Monsanto are already producing at a loss and are saying that this deal could be potentially disastrous to their businesses, according to The New York Times.
Health issues are yet another concern with this takeover as it has not yet been discovered what the effects of GMOs are on one’s health. Many people have expressed concerns surrounding the fact that this company will now control both GMOs and the medicines that treat diseases.
This takeover also raises the question of how much power should one company have? Should one corporation have control over food, pesticides and medicines? When to draw the line for too much power?
What can be done against a company with so much influence? What influence does one person have over a company of this size? However, as a collective group of consumers, perhaps people can make their concerns heard.
Feature image courtesy of www.march-against-monsanto.com