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Monsanto has rejected Bayer’s second takeover approach, claiming the $64bn cash offer was too low, in a fresh setback to the German group’s ambition to create the world’s largest agrochemicals group.

The genetically-modified seeds group said on Tuesday that its board unanimously agreed that Bayer’s revised $125-a-share proposal was “financially inadequate and insufficient to ensure deal certainty”.

But it said it was open to “continued and constructive conversations with Bayer and other parties to assess whether a transaction that the board believes is in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be realised”.

A deal would mark the largest outbound takeover by a German company in 18 years. A wave of consolidation has swept across the industry — partially triggered by the US company’s three failed attempts to buy Syngenta of Switzerland — that could result in more than 60 per cent of the global seeds and chemicals market being controlled by just a handful of companies.

Bayer said it would review Monsanto’s statement but declined to comment further. When it increased its offer earlier this month to a 40 per cent premium over Monsanto’s undisturbed share price, it said it believed the proposal addressed Monsanto’s concerns relating to financing and regulatory matters.

Analysts and investors had expected the St Louis-based company to reject the proposal given the increased offer was just $3-a-share higher than its first proposal. A $1.5bn break fee is half what ChemChina has offered for its merger with Syngenta.

Analysts have speculated that Monsanto’s board would need a price north of $130 a share.

Monsanto is resisting a takeover in spite of a difficult operating environment. Farm incomes have tumbled amid falling crop prices and oversupply of generic glyphosate, a key ingredient in its Roundup herbicide. With petrol prices remaining low, demand for ethanol, for which the key

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