German company Bayer AG (BAYRY) has finalized the syndication of a $57 billion bridge loan, which the company secured to fund its $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto Company (MON), the world’s largest supplier of seeds used in agriculture farming.
According to Bloomberg, the $57 billion syndication loan comprises of 27 lenders, which includes European and Japanese banks. Among the notable U.S. banks are Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase. Bayer plans to fund the mega deal with a combination of debt, the issuance of $19 billion of mandatory convertible bonds and a rights offer. (See also: Monsanto Deal Puts Bayer Stock in the Weeds.)
Shares of the pharmaceutical giant declined 1.41% Tuesday to $99.66. If the company's shares price serves as any indication, Bayer investors aren't in favor of the $128 per share offer price for Monsanto. Bayer's shares have declined some 6% since the offer was made public and the shares have fallen 14% and 20% in the past six months and year to date, respectively.
In an effort to appease shareholders and political scrutiny, Bayer on Monday promised to not use its Monsanto acquisition to force genetically modified crops on unsuspecting European consumers. CEO Werner Baumann was quoted by the Associated Press as telling German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung: "We don't want to take over Monsanto in order to establish genetically modified plants in Europe."
Despite Baumann's assurances, the market is not convinced Monsanto is in Bayer's best interest given how Bayer's shares have declined in the market . The stock is currently priced at a forward P/E ratio of 11, which is about five points below the average stock in the S&P 500 index. Assuming Bayer shares were priced on par with the rest of the market, they would trade today in a range of $135 to $150, or at worse 35% higher. (See also: Monsanto Tops Q4 Earnings, Revenue Estimates.)
The fact that Bayer shares are priced so cheaply based on forward estimates suggests investors aren't willing to take on the execution risk if the Monsanto deal does go through. The news regarding the syndication loan is a reminder that Bayer is one step closer.