Natalie Parkinson
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Natalie Parkinson in Mergers & Acquisitions,

Monsanto shares jump on new reports of takeover interest

Shares of Monsanto Co rallied as much as 12 percent on Thursday on new reports that Bayer AG and BASF SE were interested in acquiring the world's largest seed producer, highlighting the drive for further consolidation in the sector.

Both Bayer and BASF have been exploring a combination with Monsanto for several months, but valuation concerns have made a deal elusive, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Bayer was exploring a bid for Monsanto, while financial news website Street Insider reported that BASF was also looking at a Monsanto acquisition.

Monsanto, Bayer and BASF all declined to comment.

Monsanto shares rose as high as $100.85 before easing to $98.64, up 9.2 percent, giving it a market capitalization of about $44 billion. Bayer shares were down 4.5 percent while BASF shed 1 percent.

What do you think about this news? And who is the best buyer?