Monsanto terminates deal to sell Precision Planting farm equipment to Deere & Co

Monsanto Co today terminated an agreed deal to sell its Precision Planting farm equipment business to machinery maker Deere & Co after the US regulator filed a case to block the deal over antitrust concerns.

In November 2015, Monsanto's Climate Corp subsidiary announced plans to sell its Precision Planting LLC to Deere & Co for an undisclosed sum. (See: Monsanto to sell Precision Planting farm equipment business to Deere & Co)

Under the terms of the agreements, Deere was to buy Precision Planting while Climate Corp would retain the digital agriculture portfolio that had been integrated into the Climate FieldView platform.

Precision Planting equipment business enables exclusive near real-time data connectivity between some of the John Deere farm equipment range and the Climate FieldView platform.

But eight months after the deal was announced, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a lawsuit to block the sale on the ground that the transaction would make it more expensive for farmers to use fast, precise planting technology.

Monsanto today said that it had made a strategic decision nearly 18 months ago to focus its business exclusively on its digital agriculture platform, and that strategy has not changed.

The company intends to sell the Precision Planting equipment business and has contacted several third parties that have expressed interest in purchasing it.

John Deere also announced its termination of the Digital Ag Connectivity agreement with The Climate Corporation and added that the termination of the agreement will have no impact on existing Climate FieldView customers who currently use John Deere's Wireless Data Server (WDS) technology to stream data into their account.

"We just didn't see that there was a clear path going forward, that the DOJ was going to approve the transaction. We have a valuable business and people in limbo and it was just time to move on," Michael Stern, CEO of Climate said in an interview.

"We are deeply disappointed in this outcome as we remain confident the acquisition would have benefited customers," John May, Deere's president of agricultural solutions and chief information officer, said in a release.