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EU Panel Opens Probe of Bayer Bid

December 4, 2001

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European antitrust regulators opened an in-depth probe Tuesday into Bayer AG’s planned $4.8 billion takeover of Aventis Crop Science.

The European Commission said its initial investigation ``indicated serious concerns in a number of markets where the operation is likely to lead to the creation or strengthening of a dominant position.″

It cited crop insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, seed treatment products and professional pest control products.

French drug group Aventis SA owns 76 percent of the company, while Germany’s Schering AG holds the rest.

Bayer has said it plans to bundle the crop science operations into its newly formed crop protection company, which would move Bayer from seventh to second place among global agrochemical companies behind Syngenta AG of Switzerland.

The EU said it was collaborating with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Canadian authorities on the case.

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