US seed and agrochemical company Monsanto on Tuesday rejected a 62-billion-dollar cash offer from German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, a deal that would have created the world's largest provider of pesticides and crop seeds.
Monsanto's board of directors was unanimous in finding Bayer's bid "incomplete and financially inadequate," according to a company statement.
Nevertheless, Monsanto said it was open to continued dialogue to explore whether an eventual transaction is possible. However, the company said, such a transaction is not assured.
"We believe in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society, and we have long respected Bayer's business," Monsanto chief Hugh Grant said in a statement.
"However, the current proposal significantly undervalues our company and also does not adequately address or provide reassurance for some of the potential financing and regulatory execution risks related to the acquisition."
Bayer's takeover offer priced Monsanto shares at 122 dollars each, representing a 37-per-cent premium on the level at which Monsanto shares were trading two weeks ago.
Bayer said late Tuesday that it hopes to hold "constructive discussions with Monsanto regarding the proposed transaction."
"We are pleased that Monsanto's board shares our belief in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society," Bayer AG chief executive Werner Baumann said.
"We are confident that we can address any potential financing or regulatory matters related to the transaction. Bayer remains committed to working together to complete this mutually compelling transaction."
The combined company was expected to make about 60 billion euros (67.4 billion dollars) in annual sales and employ a combined 140,000 people.
However, environmental activists had questioned the wisdom of Bayer's move, noting that Monsanto's reputation is closely linked to controversial products like genetically modified seeds and herbicides such as Roundup, its brand of glyphosate.
Monsanto is based in the Midwestern US state of Missouri.