ST. LOUIS, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Monsanto stock shareholders approved a $57 billion merger with Germany's Bayer AG, the U.S. company announced Tuesday.
The takeover by the pharmaceutical conglomerate will be the largest acquisition of a U.S. company by a German firm, ahead of Daimler AG's $40 billion purchase of Chrysler Corp. in 1998.
In closing, Monsanto shareholders will receive $128 per share in cash, with 99 percent voting in favor of the merger.
Monsanto shares were 0.1 percent higher at $104.73 in mid-day trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Bayer was trading at $102.60, up .81 percent on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
"We are pleased we received such strong support from our shareowners," said Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and chief executive officer in a statement. "This is an important milestone as we work to combine our two complementary companies and deliver on our shared vision for the future of agriculture. By bringing together our expertise and our resources to drive this shared vision, we can do even more together to benefit growers around the world and to help address broad global challenges like climate change and food scarcity."
Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG, said the merger will offer "new, innovative solutions that our customers need."
Bayer is based in Leverkusen, Germany, and Monsanto's headquarters are in St. Louis.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in the United States and the European Union with the closing expected by the end of 2017, Monsanto said.
Grant said he is confident the sale will be approved by the U.S. government despite President-elect Donald Trump's uneasiness in larger-scale mergers, including the AT&T-Time Warner, and foreign investments in U.S. firms.
"My view hasn't changed since November, I'm still confident," Grant said to The wall Street Journal on Tuesday. "This is another building block that makes the Midwest a biotech hub for the planet."
Grant said he hasn't spoken with anyone on the Trump transition team about the Bayer deal.
Monsanto employs 20,000 workers in agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology. It is the leading producer of genetically engineered seed and Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide. Revenue was $15 billion in 2015, according to the company's annual report.
Bayer, with 117,000 workers, had sales of $49 billion in 2015, according to its annual report. Bayer's first and best known product was aspirin but it has branched out to a variety of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare products as well as agricultural chemicals and biotechnology products.