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UPDATE: Bayer Deal for CropScience Appears Ready to Close in Near Future

This story has been updated from a previous version.

NEW YORK, Oct. 1 – Germany's Bayer is reportedly close to clinching a deal to acquire Aventis’ CropScience business, Reuters reported Monday.

A Bayer spokesperson was not immediately available for comment, but according to news reports the companies could pen the deal as early as Monday and formalize it as early as Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Franco-German Aventis said she could neither confirm nor deny the reports.

Bayer, which is expected to pay 7.0 billion to 7.5 billion euros ($6.39 billion to $6.84 billion) for CropScience, including 2.0 billion euros in debt, has been in talks with Aventis since July to buy CropScience.

At the time those talks were announced an Aventis genomics executive told GenomeWeb that it was not immediately clear how the deal would affect the company’s genomics business.

The CropScience unit has more than 15,000 employees, approximately 1,200 of who work in research and development. Slightly less than 10 percent of the company’s research is focused on genomics. 

CropScience also has a number of academic and corporate partnerships in genomics that could possibly be affected by the merger. Aventis is involved in three collaborations with German and French consortia in the area of genomics research and also own 50 percent of a joint venture with Exelixis. 

In 1999, Exelixis subsidiary Exelixis Plant Sciences and Aventis CropScience formed Agrinomics, a 50-50 collaboration designed to study arabidopsis. Since its founding, however, the companies have released little news about Agrinomics’ activities. 

Exelixis also has a higher profile joint venture with Bayer called Genoptera, which is focused on developing technologies that can be used to develop insecticides. 

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