Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Monsanto Bayer merger Sum of Us

"This new mega corporation would be the world's biggest seed maker and pesticide company," warns watchdog group SumofUs. (Image: SumofUs)

Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is 'Five-Alarm Threat' to Food and Farms: Legal Experts

White paper from two former Justice Department officials warns merger would violate antitrust laws and lessen competition

Deirdre Fulton

A new legal opinion penned by two former Justice Department officials bolsters warnings that the proposed merger between agroindustrial giants Bayer and Monsanto "is a five-alarm threat to our food supply and to farmers around the world."

The white paper (pdf) by Maurice E. Stucke and Allen P. Grunes, both former employees of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, states that Bayer's proposed takeover of Monsanto would:

  • Increase concentration in already concentrated industries for genetic traits, seed, and herbicides. For example, Bayer-Monsanto post-merger would account for approximately 70 percent of the U.S. acreage for cotton, with similar or higher shares in different regions of the U.S.
  • Increase Monsanto's already significant market power and increase its dominance in herbicides and genetic traits for seed.
  • Eliminate not only the direct competition between Bayer and Monsanto for traits, herbicide, and crop seed, but also the head-to-head competition in agricultural biotechnology innovation markets and reduce opportunities for pro-competitive research and development (R&D) collaborations.
  • Likely lead to higher input prices, less choice and higher food prices for consumers, including fewer non-biotechnology options available to farmers and consumers.

Indeed, Stucke and Grunes write that given their findings, "the antitrust enforcers must not allow this merger to proceed."

In July, Monsanto rejected Bayer's $64 billion takeover offer as "financially inadequate," but said it was open to continued negotiations. And this week, Bayer's second-quarter figures—which revealed a weak crop sciences division—were seen by some as "justification for the acquisition."

But nothing justifies a "five-alarm threat to our food supply and to farmers around the world," declared Anne Isakowitsch, senior campaigner with global consumer watchdog SumOfUs, which publicly released the legal opinion on Wednesday.

"This new mega corporation would be the world's biggest seed maker and pesticide company," she said, "defying important antitrust protections, giving it unacceptable control over critical aspects of our food supply—undermining consumer choice and the freedom and stability of farmers worldwide."

That opinion is widely shared by food safety advocates as well as the more than 500,000 people who have signed onto a petition opposing the deal.

Many have observed that the Bayer-Monsanto deal is just one of several Big Ag mega-mergers—along with those between Dow and DuPont and ChemChina and Syngenta—that "already threaten to hyper-consolidate the biotech seed industry," as Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in May.

"The shocking consolidation in the biotech seed and agrochemical industry turns over the food system to a cabal of chemical companies that would make it even harder for farmers, consumers and communities to build a vibrant, sustainable food system," she said at the time.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Intentional Vandalism' Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

Kenny Stancil ·


GOP Silence on Trump's Call to Axe Constitution Reveals 'Full Embrace of Fascism': House Dem

"Last week the leader of the Republican Party had dinner with a Nazi leader and a man who called Adolf Hitler 'great,'" said Rep. Bill Pascrell. "Yesterday Trump called for throwing out the Constitution and making himself dictator."

Kenny Stancil ·


Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo