Sources say the German drugs and crop chemicals maker Bayer is on course to win conditional EU anti-trust approval for its its $62.5 billion bid for world No.1 seed company, Monsanto.
The takeover would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market.
The drive for consolidation
Shifting weather patterns, competition in grain exports and a souring global farm economy have spurred consolidation among the major players.
This has triggered protests from environmental and farming groups worried about the market power of big congomerates.
EU regulatory concerns
Bayer has already pledged to sell certain seed and herbicide assets for 5.9 bilion euros t BASF to address these.
The company will also give BASF a license to its digital farm data.
Bayer also says it plans to sell its vegetable seeds business.
The company says it is continuing a constructive dialogue with the EU competition watchdog.
It has also said the regulatory process in Europe is further advanced than in the US, where the deal also must be cleared.
What has the EU said?
Nothing yet. The Commission, which is expected to issue a decision on the deal ahead of its deadline on April the 5th, declined to comment.
The Bayer-Monsanto tie-up has sparked criticism from environmentalists and some farming groups.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has received more than 50,000 petition emails and more than 5,000 letters opposed to the deal.
"Approving this merger would create the world's biggest agribusiness company, potentially crushing competitiors and establishing an unprecedented monopoly on lucrative farming data," said Adrian Bebb at environmental lobbying group Friends of the Earth Europe.
"Public opinion is against the merger, and farmers and consumers would have every right to be outraged by the Commission giving it the green light."