German healthcare and agricultural giant Bayer confirmed on Thursday morning it is in preliminary discussions on a takeover of Monsanto, one of the biggest seed and agricultural firms in the United States.
Last year, it was Monsanto that was on the offensive, working on a near $50 billion takeover of Swiss competitor Syngenta . However, Monsanto dropped the offer in August amid unrest from shareholders and a weakening of the global agricultural market.
The company then embarked on a large stock buyback, lowering its share count nearly 10% through the course of 2015. Monsanto also laid out a restructuring plan intended to double earnings per share over the next five years.