German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has confirmed its intention to take over US agrochemical and agricultural company Monsanto, in a move that would create the world's largest provider of pesticides and crops seeds.
The Leverkusen-based company, whose primary business includes pharmaceutical and health care products, confirmed Thursday that its executives had met with their Monsanto counterparts behind closed doors to talk about the possibility of a "consensual" takeover.
Monsanto confirmed in a statement that it has received an "unsolicited, non-binding proposal" for a potential takeover and that its board of directors was reviewing options.
If the acquisition succeeds, the companies would have joint annual revenues of more than 59 billion euros (66 billion dollars), according to the most recent figures.
The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story about the talks, said that as a joint entity, the companies would provide more than a quarter (28 per cent) of the world's pesticides, citing figures from Morgan Stanley.
It is unclear whether regulators would agree to such a tie-up. Monsanto's position on an acquisition is also unclear.
The Missouri-headquartered company recently reduced its profit projection for this year and is currently going through a restructuring.
It has come under fire for its Roundup weed killer product, which contains the controversial pesticide glyphosate. An EU panel of national experts is currently considering whether to extend its authorization in the bloc.