Aircrap.org – Today’s big acquisition is a huge agritech exit: Biotech company Monsanto has bought Climate Corporation for approximately $1.1 billion. While the Monsanto press release says $930 million, we’re hearing from investors that the actual price is past the $1 billion mark, because part of the all-cash deal will be paid out over time as an employee retention plan.
Climate Corporation is backed by Founders Fund, Khosla, Google Ventures, NEA, Index Ventures and Atomico. The company uses machine learning to predict the weather and other essential elements for agribusiness.
Monsanto focuses on providing seeds, biotechnology traits and crop production products for farmers around the world. The acquired company will continue to operate as the Climate Corporation, and Monsanto will leverage its big data expertise to optimize farming globally.
This is a pretty cunning move. It comes on the same day that Monsanto — one of the world’s largest argibusiness companies — reported a larger-than-expected, increased 4th quarter loss, of $249 million, or $0.47 per share.
And Monsanto is positioning this acquisition as part of a longer-term recovery plan, hoping that Climate Corporation’s climate change monitoring technology will help Monsanto manage future risk better. Monsanto has weathered (pun intended) a lot of bad PR over the years around issues like genetic modification and the general trammelling of smaller agricultural enterprises, so it will be interesting to see how Climate Corporation fits into that mix.