The German drugs and chemical corporation Bayer made a proposal to purchase U.S agrochemical and agricultural company Monsanto Wednesday.
If the deal goes ahead, Bayer will become the world’s biggest agricultural supplier and likely monopolize both pesticide and seed markets.
Last week it was revealed that both Bayer and BASF, another German chemical group, were thought to be interested in buying Monsanto, and now the former have made a move to purchase the corporation.
Neither Bayer nor Monsanto have provided details of the proposal, but the deal is estimated to be worth more than US$47 billion, according to Bernstein Research.
Monsanto’s board is reviewing the proposal, which is subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions. There is no guarantee that any transaction will take place, the group said in a statement according to Reuters.
Reuters also report that Bayer say the merger would create "a leading integrated agriculture business," a reference to Bayer's push to combine the development and sale of seeds and crop protection chemicals.
The major agrochemical firms are aiming to genetically engineer more robust plants and custom-build chemicals to go with them, selling them together to farmers who are currently struggling with low commodity prices.
Recently Monsanto has been involved in a number of controversies across the world. Herbicides to their weed killer product Roundup was recently labeled a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Meanwhile, Mexican Indigenous farmers have been involved in legal battles with Monsanto, claiming that Monsanto's genetically modified seeds increase the need for and use of pesticides, where traditional farming methods and seeds are better for smaller farmers to boost their harvest and protect biodiversity.
In April, Burkina Faso, Africa’s top cotton producer, decided to ban genetically-modified cotton produced by Monsanto on quality grounds
Monsanto is also involved in a royalty fight over cotton seed pricing in India and a similar battle over soybean royalties in Argentina, among other controversies.
U.S. regulators said in February that Monsanto would have to pay US$80 million in a settlement over accounting violations.