Monsanto-Bayer Merger Yet to Close After Self-Imposed Deadline
However, as Bloomberg BNA reports, the companies have not been able to meet its self-imposed, one-year deadline due to political and regulatory scrutiny. The deal is unlikely to close soon, as it has not received antitrust clearance in roughly 30 countries, including the European Union, the U.S., Brazil and India.
Experts have warned that the combination—which would claim 30 percent of the global crop-inputs business if successfully executed—could significantly and negatively impact farmers and food production. Monsanto controls 80 percent of the U.S. corn market and 93 percent of the U.S. soy market.
"It would combine two competitors with leading portfolios in non-selective herbicides, seeds and traits, and digital agriculture," the commission stated. "Both companies are active in developing new products in these areas."
The commission warned that the acquisition could reduce competition in a number of different markets resulting in "higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation."
"Moreover," the commission noted, "the transaction would take place in industries that are already globally concentrated, as illustrated by the recent mergers of Dow and Dupont and Syngenta and ChemChina, in which the commission intervened to protect competition for the benefit of farmers and consumers."
But Bloomberg analyst Brooke Sutherland told Bloomberg BNA that the motivation to close the deal remains strong, and Monsanto remains highly attractive to Bayer.
The German pharmaceuticals company told Reuters last month it aims to have the transaction approved by the end of the year.
"Bayer looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the commission with a view to obtaining the commission's approval," the company said.
According to Bloomberg BNA, the deal is still alive even if it does not close Sept. 14. The merger agreement allows the contractual deadline to extend to June 14, 2018, if necessary, to complete regulatory approvals.
Bayer will pay Monsanto a break-up fee of $2 billion if the deal is not completed.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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