Germany’s Bayer confirms takeover talks with U.S.’s Monsanto, which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish _lowres

Associated Press file photo -- Monsanto's is on display at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG confirmed Thursday it has entered talks about a possible purchase of the Monsanto Co.

Monsanto Co., which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish, is in talks about being acquired by German drug and chemicals company Bayer.

The combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong footprint in the U.S., Europe and Asia, combining two businesses with a complementary geographical focus.

But Bayer might have to shed part of its business because of antitrust concerns. And the price tag on any deal would be huge: Monsanto’s market value is about $42 billion.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto said late Wednesday that it was reviewing Bayer’s proposal. Neither company gave any other details.

Monsanto specializes in genetically modified crop seeds and weed killers.

Monsanto’s Luling operations employ about 645 workers. The company last month announced a $975 million investment over the next three years at the plant to support the launch of its Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. The expansion will create 95 jobs and 20 new contractor jobs.

The possible deal follows a wave of consolidation in the chemicals industry: DuPont and Dow Chemical agreed to combine last year, and ChemChina agreed to buy Syngenta of Switzerland in March after Monsanto’s own bid for its Basel-based rival failed.

In Louisiana, Dow has six locations — Plaquemine, Grand Bayou, Hahnville, Weeks Island, Greensburg and near Monroe — and DuPont one in LaPlace. Syngenta operates a plant in St. Gabriel and three leased warehouses in Baton Rouge.