Environmental activists protest against Bayer-Monsanto merge in Brussels

Environmental group Friends of the Earth staged a protest outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on March 30. The protesters are against the merging plans of German drug and crop chemical maker Bayer and U.S. seeds company Monsanto.

The activists called the merger a ‘marriage made in hell,’ with two people dressed up as bride and groom to symbolize the union. Others held up signs that read ‘Hands off our food’ and ‘Break them Up.’

Bayer has not yet officially started its acquisition of Monsanto but the activists said that the two companies are expected to seek formal authorization to merge from EU antitrust authorities in the near future. They warned against the deal, saying it would create an “unacceptable monopoly” and give the merged companies an “even tighter toxic grip” on the food and agriculture industry.

The activists say the merger would lead to only three companies “controlling around 70 percent of the world’s agro-chemicals and more than 60 percent of commercial seeds.”

EU regulators recently cleared the Dow Chemical-DuPont merger.

Bayer and Monsanto have started divesting their assets earlier this month, totalling to $2.5 billion. Bayer is expected to sell off parts of its seed business to increase chances of regulatory clearance for the potential merger, worth $66 billion.

The EU Commission will likely hold an in-depth investigation before it decides on the deal. Bayer said it is confident the transaction will occur at the end of the year.

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