German drugs and crop chemicals company Bayer has won over U.S. seeds firm Monsanto with an improved takeover offer of $66 billion including debt, ending months of wrangling after increasing its bid for a third time.
The $128 a share deal announced on Wednesday, up from Bayer's previous offer of $127.50 a share, is the biggest of the year so far and the largest cash bid on record.
The transaction will create a company commanding more than a quarter of the combined world market for seeds and pesticides in a fast-consolidating farm supplies industry.
However, competition authorities are likely to scrutinize the tie-up closely, and some of Bayer's own shareholders have been critical of a takeover plan which they say is too expensive and risks neglecting the company's pharmaceutical business.
The transaction includes a break-fee of $2 billion that Bayer will pay to Monsanto should it fail to get regulatory clearance. Bayer expects the deal to close by the end of 2017.
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