SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Monsanto Co (MON.N) is set on keeping rights to its Intacta RR2 IPRO genetically modified soybean technology as the U.S. seeds company negotiates its takeover by Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) with global antitrust authorities, a senior executive said on Thursday.
The $66 billion deal, announced in September 2016, would create the world’s largest integrated pesticides and seeds company.
Opponents of the deal have asked Brazil’s anti-monopoly watchdog Cade to block it or force divestments including Monsanto’s Intacta RR2 IPRO seed technology and Bayer’s glufosinate ammonium herbicides.
Brazilian, U.S. and European regulators are working together to ensure that the transaction does not threaten competition.
“We are very confident we will maintain the Intacta technology in the new organization,” Rodrigo Santos, Monsanto’s chief executive for South America, told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry event in São Paulo.
“Though working in collaboration, each authority will announce an autonomous decision.”
Bayer is leading talks with regulators to approve the takeover, Santos said, dismissing the prospect of market concentration that would justify tough conditions for approval.
Bayer, a drugs and pesticides company, has pledged to divest businesses with up to $1.6 billion in annual sales if required by antitrust regulators. The companies hope to close the deal by the end of 2017.
A representative for Bayer did not provide an immediate comment.
Santos’ remarks underscore the hurdle the deal faces in Brazil, Monsanto’s most important market after the United States. Soy and cotton farmers as well as seed producers have formally told Cade they oppose the unconditional approval of the deal.
Soy farmers asked Brazil to force the sale of Monsanto’s registration, patents and brands associated with Intacta, Cade filings shows. They also called for the sale of Monsanto plant breeding firm Agroeste Sementes SA and Bayer’s Credenz.
Cade declined to comment.
The deal will also impact cotton growers, who claim the two companies will control 14 out of 15 genetically modified cotton seed technologies available in Brazil, said Rachel Mendonça, a partner at Mendonça e Nogueira Advogados, which represents three industry groups opposing the deal.
Santos declined to comment on specific complaints, adding that Bayer was committed to working with authorities to resolve any competition issues arising from the transaction.
Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Richard Chang