Darmstadt – Merck KGaA announced today that it will sell its Crop BioScience business, which is part of the Performance Materials division, to Novozymes A/S, Denmark for a total consideration of USD 275 million. The agreement is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Closing of the transaction is expected in beginning of 2011.
Merck’s divested Crop BioScience business researches, develops and commercializes technologies used to improve plant health and crop yields. These activities are carried out in North and South America through three dedicated legal entities: EMD Crop BioScience, Milwaukee, USA; EMD Crop BioScience Canada; and Merck Crop BioScience Argentina. The Crop BioScience business generated about EUR 35 million of sales in 2009 and employs approximately 165 people.
“With the acquisition of Millipore the strategic focus of Merck’s Chemicals business significantly changed towards the life science industries. The Crop BioScience business is focused on a specific segment within the agricultural industry and has very limited overlap with other parts of Merck’s business,” said Bernd Reckmann, member of the Executive Board of Merck. “Under the leadership of an experienced and highly motivated management team, the Crop BioScience business has shown very strong growth over the past several years. I firmly believe that as an established player in the agricultural biologicals industry, Novozymes will be able to take the business to the next level.”
“The acquisition of Crop BioScience strengthens our global position in the growing industry for agricultural biologicals providing products that enhance the natural growth and yield of crops,” said Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes. “We have found in Crop BioScience a company that has a strong strategic fit with our existing BioAg business. In brief, it has a complementary product range and geographical scope, a strong R&D pipeline, and very talented people. Together we can utilize Novozymes’ unique biotechnology platform to bring a new level of innovation to the market.”
The Crop BioScience business joined Merck in 1991 with the acquisition of Lipha. It was expanded with the acquisition of Agribiotics (Canada) in 2006. Merck’s Crop BioScience business researches, develops and commercializes crop-enhancing products for on-seed, foliar and in-furrow applications for soybeans, pulses, forage crops, peanuts, corn and alfalfa. These products improve root development, plant health and yield. Many of the lead products such as Optimize® for soybeans and Torque™ IF for corn contain its patented LCO Promoter Technology® - a naturally-occurring molecule that brings unprecedented early-season vigor and plant health benefits to a number of crops.
Perella Weinberg Partners LP has acted as exclusive financial advisor to Merck in the transaction, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as the Group’s legal advisor.