German chemical and pharmaceutical major Bayer on Wednesday finalised a merger deal with United States agro-technology company Monsanto for $66-billion (approximately Rs 4.4 lakh crore). According to Reuters, this is the largest all-cash takeover deal ever recorded. Bayer had made two offers before this, which Monsanto had rejected. The negotiations have been on for months.

The merger, at $128 per share (around Rs8,500), heralds the formation of the world’s biggest and most powerful agriculture business, though it still needs to be approved by regulators before it is finalised. If it goes through, the new company will control 29% of the world’s seeds and 24% of the world’s pesticides, Vox reported.

Both the European Union and the US Department of Justice will examine the deal closely, in addition to 28 other regulators in various countries.

The move will allow Bayer to take over the controversial Monsanto’s market-leading seed production business, at a time when its competitors too have been merging. It hopes to combine this seed production strength with its own prominence in the pesticide business as the global agriculture market struggles with widespread layoffs and cutbacks on research projects. Experts said Monsanto’s decision to sell also indicates troubled times for the US agricultural economy.