Bayer CropScience is purchasing the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott & Cobb Inc., a privately-held seed company with headquarters in Feasterville, Penn.
The acquisition will strengthen the vegetable business of Bayer CropScience, which operates under the Nunhems brand and is a key segment for the company.
About 30 employees of Abbott & Cobb are expected to join the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience.
Abbott & Cobb has a major watermelon presence in the U.S. with increasing business in Mexico, Australia, and Asia, as well.
The purchase is a big step up for Bayer in this market. In addition, the melon business and germplasm will broaden Bayer CropScience's existing seed portfolio and be the basis for future new hybrids.
Meanwhile, Abbott & Cobb will continue with its remaining business with crops such as sweet corn, pepper and squash.
"The demand for healthy fruits and vegetables is increasing worldwide, and this segment is of crucial importance for Bayer CropScience. We plan to achieve sales of about EUR 3 billion with seeds, traits, and crop protection solutions for fruits and vegetables by 2020," says Sandra Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience. "Our vegetable seed business is essential for this."
Douwe Zijp, head of the Bayer CropScience vegetable seed business, adds: "We are already present in all major vegetable production areas in the world with an extensive range of 28 crops and some 2,500 varieties of Nunhems brand vegetable seed—and we are very pleased to strengthen our business with the renowned seed business of Abbott & Cobb and their experienced staff."
"We are excited to join forces with Bayer CropScience's vegetable seeds organization with our watermelon and melon business—foremost because of its commitment to providing innovative solutions to vegetable growers throughout the world," says Art Abbott, CEO of Abbott & Cobb. "Together we will build on the long tradition of our company offering high-quality products and excellent service."
Closing of the deal is expected within a few weeks. Financial details were not disclosed.