The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Wednesday aimed at stopping Deere & Co. from buying Monsanto’s Precision Planting farm equipment business, reports Diane Bartz of Reuters on StLToday.com.
Deere said in a statement that it would fight the lawsuit, saying that the Justice Department’s antitrust concerns were “misguided.”
Creve Coeur-based Monsanto had said in November that it would sell its Precision Planting farm equipment business to Deere for an undisclosed sum. The Justice Department complaint asking the deal to be stopped puts the transaction price at about $190 million.
Deere shares were down 1 percent at $84.82, while Monsanto’s shares fell 1.4 percent to $105.88 in afternoon trading.
The Justice Department said the proposed deal would combine the two biggest makers of high-speed precision planting, which allows farmers to plant row crops like corn up to twice as fast as with conventional machinery.
In February, Deere completed its acquisition of Monosem, which also makes precision planters.
“High-speed precision planting technology holds out the promise of improved yields for American farmers by enabling them to plant crops more accurately at higher speeds,” said Renata Hesse, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a press release.