Bayer CropScience acquiring U.S. melon business

by Josh Sosland
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MONHEIM, GERMANY –Bayer CropScience on June 12 announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott & Cobb, Inc. Based in Feasterville, Pa., Abbott & Cobb is a privately-owned seed business specializing in vegetable seeds and plants. Bayer said the transaction is expected to close within a few weeks. Financial terms were not detailed.

Bayer called the Abbott & Cobb watermelon business “robust” in the United States with additional growing markets for its products in Mexico, Australia and Asia.

“This makes the acquisition a significant step forward for the presence of Bayer CropScience in this market,” Bayer said. “In addition, the melon business and the germplasm will broaden Bayer CropScience´s existing seed portfolio further and will be the basis for future new hybrids.”

Not included in the transaction are the remaining vegetable business of Abbott & Cobb with crops that include sweet corn, pepper and squash. About 30 of the company’s employees are expected to move to Bayer as part of the transaction.

Sandra Peterson, chief executive officer of Bayer CropScience, said rising demand for fruits and vegetables globally gives the sector “crucial importance” for Bayer CropScience.

“We plan to achieve sales of about €3 billion with seeds, traits and crop protection solutions for fruits and vegetables by 2020,” Ms. Peterson said. “Our vegetable seed business is essential for this.”

By comparison total BayerCrop Science sales in 2011 were €7.3 billion.

Bayer CropScience, through its Nunhems vegetable line, offers 28 different crops and 2,500 varieties of vegetable seeds.

Established in 1917, Abbott & Cobb is a breeder, producer and marketer of vegetable seeds and plants, with widespread distribution in North Aand South America. The company also does business in another 60 countries.

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