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Monsanto Company (MON)

  • Wed, May 20, 10:16 AM
    • Monsanto (MON -0.9%) elaborates on its proposed acquisition of Syngenta (SYT +2.3%), saying it is committed to divesting SYT's entire seed business to win regulatory approval for a merger.
    • The deal also would include the sale of some overlapping chemical operations, MON says in a statement ahead of an investor presentation by COO Brett Begemann.
    • MON says the combination of the two companies would create substantial cost savings, enhance research and development, and offer farmers a more diverse range of products and services.
    • For its part, SYT reiterates that MON's proposal "fundamentally undervalues" its prospects and pipeline, and that MON's latest assurances were already considered and rejected by SYT's board.
  • Thu, May 14, 3:05 PM
    • Monsanto (MON +1.7%) is trying to line up buyers for assets worth up to $8B to appease regulators before making a new takeover approach for Syngenta (SYT +1.7%), possibly within three weeks, Reuters reports, citing industry sources.
    • MON reportedly will tap Germany's BASF (OTCQX:BASFY, OTCPK:BFFAF), an existing joint venture partner, as it seeks a buyer for SYT's U.S. seeds business, which cannot be part of its proposed takeover.
    • SYT's seeds business could be worth $6B-$8B, and likely would need to be sold because authorities are expected to block MON from adding to its dominance of the U.S. soy and corn seeds market.
  • Fri, May 8, 2:53 PM
    • Major investors in Syngenta (SYT +11.7%) are confident a deal with Monsanto (MON +1.6%) will happen if the U.S. company raises its initial $45B bid by at least 10%, Reuters reports.
    • "A full cash offer at 450 francs or a 50/50 stock and cash offer at 500 francs would suit us at first sight, [but] we will deepen our analysis in the coming days," a top SYT investor reportedly says.
    • Despite having some unique assets, SYT's management had "over-promised and under-delivered," so a deal would be welcome as long as the price got closer to 500 Swiss francs, according to another investor.
    • The two biggest SYT investors are asset managers BlackRock and Capital Research Global Investors, both with a combined stake across their various funds of ~5%; at a fund level, the biggest investor is the Harbor International Fund, which holds a 2.7% stake.
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  • Fri, May 8, 12:25 PM
    • Monsanto’s (MON +2.3%) rejected $45B bid for Syngenta (SYT +9.7%) forces the suitor to ask itself the same hard question as disappointed shareholders of the target company: Is Syngenta worth more?
    • Deutsche Bank's Virginie Boucher-Ferte believes the deal likely will get done but at a higher price and/or a higher cash component in order to better take into account the execution risk.
    • Even at 500 Swiss francs/share vs. the current 449 Swiss francs/share offer, the analyst thinks the deal would be earnings accretive for MON due to the significant synergy potential, low interest rates, and the low Swiss corporate tax rate which would benefit MON.
    • Regulatory risks are "not insurmountable," Boucher-Ferte says, noting SYT's relatively small 8% global market share in seeds.
  • Fri, May 8, 10:15 AM
    • Monsanto (MON +3.8%) confirms it has offered a takeover deal for Syngenta (SYT +12.1%) which it believes would deliver "significant value to shareholders of both companies" and generate "substantial synergies."
    • Monsanto says it made a private proposal to SYT's board to acquire the company for 449 Swiss francs per share, including ~45% cash.
    • MON also says it is confident in its ability to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals for a takeover.
    • SYT rejected MON's offer in a statement that said it undervalues the company.
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  • Thu, May 7, 4:15 PM
    • Syngenta (SYT +6.1%) spiked into the close following a Reuters report that the company is working with Goldman Sachs to assess the merits of a potential takeover deal by Monsanto (MON +2.4%), which is said to have hired Morgan Stanley as its adviser.
    • MON long has been interested in SYT and the potential to base itself in Switzerland and benefit from lower taxes, but with the U.S. attempting to clamp down on such tax inversion deals, MON may have to buy SYT in a cash rather than stock transaction and would be unable to redomicile in Switzerland - a tall order that could require the need of a partner before launching a takeover bid that could cost as much as $40B.
    • MON approached SYT last year about some sort of combination, and rumors of talks between the two have picked up in the past week.
  • Fri, May 1, 7:59 AM
    • Antitrust issues regarding a potential Monsanto (NYSE:MON) and Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) combination would "not be insurmountable," Deutsche Bank analysts say, following reports late yesterday that MON again has approached SYT about a takeover.
    • Although MON is no. 1 globally in seeds and SYN is no. 3, SYT’s market share is relatively small at 8% vs. MON's 25%, the firm says; SYT's seeds business is perceived as the weak spot after recent problems in its U.S. corn business, the firm says, so the market would not see a problem if some of SYT’s seeds assets had to be divested as a prerequisite for a deal.
    • SYT +16%, MON +3.6% premarket.
  • Thu, Apr. 30, 4:55 PM
    • Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) +12.6% AH after Bloomberg reports it has been approached by Monsanto (NYSE:MON) about a possible takeover.
    • Combined with SYT, MON would become the largest player in the world for both seeds and crop chemicals and a formidable competitor to Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF, OTCPK:BAYRY), BASF (OTCQX:BASFY, OTCPK:BFFAF) and Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW).
    • Reports last year had said the companies held preliminary talks with advisers about a combination before SYT management decided against negotiations.
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  • Mon, Mar. 23, 12:35 PM
    • Origin Agritech (SEED +24.5%) soars in a move attributed to a WSJ article discussing China's desire to develop a local seed company, potentially through a renewed bid for SEED, which controls the rights to China's first genetically modified corn.
    • SEED last year rejected a $60B takeover bid from China's state-backed Hunan Xindaxin but its top executives believe another attempt is coming, as China looks to find a way to can keep foreign giants such as Monsanto (NYSE:MON), DuPont (NYSE:DD) and Syngenta (NYSE:SYT) at bay while significantly increasing the country’s spending on R&D.
    • China is the world’s second largest seed market but limits foreign producers to minority stakes in joint ventures, and its domestic seed makers are too small and scattered for the government to corral in pursuit of controlling the biotechnology that underpins the competitive power of global seed manufacturers.
  • Oct. 2, 2014, 2:59 PM
    • Fertilizer producers are mostly lower after Agrium (AGU -1.9%) announced weak guidance for H2 of its FY 2014: POT -2%, MOS -0.9%, OTCPK:YARIY -2.8%, IPI -2.3%, RNF -1.2%, but CF +2.4%.
    • Canaccord and Piper Jaffray downwardly revised their 12-month price targets for the stock, by a respective 1.9% to $102 while reiterating a Buy rating and by 4.2% to $92 while maintaining a Neutral rating; however, BMO and RBC each reiterated their Outperform ratings on the stock with respective target prices of $99 and $115.
    • Jim Cramer thinks AGU's woes could reverberate throughout the ag sector, at least in the near-term, with selling possibly spread to the likes of Monsanto (MON -0.4%), Syngenta (SYT +0.1%), Deere (DE +0.1%) and Agco (AGCO +1%).
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  • Sep. 10, 2014, 12:59 PM
    • Monsanto (MON -1.5%) moves off earlier lows prompted by a report from OTR Global warning that weak Intacta demand is unlikely to absorb supply.
    • Seed dealers and producers in Brazil and Argentina report weaker than expected sales of the genetically engineered soybeans, OTR says in cutting its rating on MON to Negative from Mixed.
    • A MON spokesperson disputes those conclusions, saying Intacta demand is on pace to reach a goal of 10M-12M acres this year and pre-pays are greater than expected.
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  • Jun. 27, 2014, 8:16 AM
    • DuPont (DD) -3.1% premarket after cutting its Q2 and FY 2014 earnings outlook, pointing to slower than expected sales growth in its agriculture and performance chemicals units.
    • DD said in a conference call that it expects Q2 operating earnings in its agriculture business to fall in the low teens in percentage terms, with corn pricing in North America expected to be slightly lower than its previous estimate and returns of unused corn seeds in Brazil to be higher than anticipated.
    • Dow Chemical (DOW) -0.7% premarket; chemical peers FMC, SYT, MON, LYB, CE and HUN also will be on watch today.
  • Jun. 25, 2014, 11:39 AM
    • Monsanto (MON +5%) says in its FQ3 earnings conference call that it is delivering growth commitments despite the toughest macro agriculture environment in several years, and that its upside guidance reflects estimated a $0.15-$0.20 EPS headwind largely driven by currency.
    • Goldman Sachs maintains its Buy rating on the shares even as MON's FQ3 earnings beat was "not great" and the guidance raise was below expectations; the firm believes it is outweighed by the sheer size of the share repurchase program.
    • MON is shifting its capital redeployment strategy from acquisitions to share repurchases and will be more aggressive going forward, Goldman says; it also views MON's five-year growth plan calling for mid-teens CAGR to $10-plus of EPS in 2019 as an endorsement of continued growth.
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  • Jun. 25, 2014, 9:10 AM
  • Jun. 25, 2014, 8:47 AM
    • Monsanto (MON) +5.5% premarket and perhaps set to open at a new all-time high after beating FQ3 earnings estimates, raising its full-year outlook on a strong outlook for its seeds and traits business, and announcing a $10B share buyback program.
    • Raises its full-year EPS and free cash flow guidance to the the upper end of previous ranges; sees EPS of $5.10-$5.20 vs. earlier forecast of $5.00-$5.20 and $5.25 analyst consensus estimate, and free cash flow at the upper end of $700M-$800M range.
    • In its new two-year $10B share purchase program, MON says it is targeting $6B in stock buybacks starting in the near term and spanning up to 12 months.
    • Gross margin rose to 54.8% from 53.2%.
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  • Jun. 23, 2014, 12:44 PM
    • Monsanto (MON +0.4%) recently explored a takeover of Swiss rival Syngenta (SYT +5.1%) in a potential $40B deal that would have allowed the U.S. firm to move its tax location to Switzerland, according to a Bloomberg report.
    • The two companies held preliminary talks with advisers in recent months about a combination before SYT decided against negotiations, the report says; while talks are currently on hold, sources say the deal could be revived.
    • MON jumped to a new all-time high at $123.99, and has since pulled back to ~$122.
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Company Description
Monsanto Co is a provider of agricultural products for farmers. The Company offers corn, soybean, cotton, wheat, canola, sorghum and sugar cane seeds. Its segments are Seeds and Genomics and Agricultural Productivity.