Dow and DuPont merger approved by EU

Dow and DuPont merger approved by EU

Dow and DuPont merger approved by EU

The European Commission was anxious the merged company would reduce price competition and would have few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides.

With the European Union approval of Dow-DuPont, attention moves to the US, where the Justice Department is also expected to require divestitures before approving the tie-up, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But Margrethe Vestager, the European Union trade commissioner, has announced the deal can go ahead if Dow and DuPont agree to sell part of DuPont's global pesticides business, including its global research and development organisation. They also will divest an exclusive license to DuPont's product for rice cultivation in the European Economic Area to address the more limited concerns relating to fungicides.

"We were only able to agree to it, because the companies offered to sell off a significant part of their business, to preserve effective competition", according to the release.

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"Due to significant commitments on products and the worldwide research and development organisation, the merger of Dow and Dupont can be approved", EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The Dow-Dupont merger is part of a broader wave of consolidation in the agro-chemicals sector that has anxious environmental activists and small farmers.

Top executives from both Dow and DuPont called the deal a merger of equals.

Stockholders approved the merger in July 2016. That pushed the review deadline from late September to early January. About a month later, the investigation was restarted with the goal of completing the review by February 6.

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The takeover, announced a year ago, is the first to win approval out of a trio of mega-deals that would reshape the global agrochemicals industry.

Both companies had privately detailed to European regulators concessions they would be willing to make in August 2016, but Vestager raised concerns previous year about whether the divestitures would be acceptable.

The decision by antitrust regulators was subject to Dupont selling "major parts" of its global pesticides business, the European Commission said. DuPont CEO Ed Breen will be the CEO of the merged DowDuPont.

DOW stock and DD stock were both up slightly as of noon Monday, with DOW stock being up 11% year-to-date and DD stock being up 9% year-to-date. Dow's stock is a Zacks Rank #3 (HOLD).

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E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co shares were unchanged in premarket trading Monday. There was "specific evidence" that the pair would have cut back on the amount they spent on developing products, the European Commission said in an emailed statement.

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