Monsanto Buys Weather Company Climate Corporation
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.
Ahead of the Oct. 12 March Against Monsanto, Monsanto announced their latest acquisition on the morning of their earnings release revealing a “larger than expected” quarterly loss. Listen to the conference call and download slideshow PDF for reference. This was a slick move to paper over the loss and redirect the attention of investors, which TechCrunch described as cunning. One thing that stood out on the earnings call was there was no mention of the global Oct. 12 protests which reportedly has some hedge funds dumping the stock.
infowars October 3, 2013
TechCrunch Interview this morning with Monsanto VP of Global Strategy Kerry Preete and Climate Corporation CEO David Friedberg
ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Climate Corporation for a cash purchase price of approximately $930 million. The acquisition will combine The Climate Corporation’s expertise in agriculture analytics and risk-management with Monsanto’s R&D capabilities, and will provide farmers access to more information about the many factors that affect the success of their crops. The companies’ combined capabilities will support greater productivity while utilizing the planet’s finite resources more precisely.
The acquisition is expected to expand on The Climate Corporation’s leadership in the area of data science, which represents the agriculture sector’s next major breakthrough, and will immediately expand both the near- and long-term growth opportunities for Monsanto’s business and Integrated Farming Systems platform.
“The Climate Corporation is focused on unlocking new value for the farm through data science,” said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer for Monsanto. “Everyone benefits when farmers are able to produce more with fewer resources. The Climate Corporation team brings leading expertise that will continue to greatly benefit farmers and their bottom-line, and we want to expand upon this tremendous work and broaden their reach to more crops and more world areas. We look forward to working closely with our distribution partners and others in the agricultural industry to bring this suite of information resources to the farm.”
The Climate Corporation was founded in 2006 by a highly successful team of software engineers and data scientists formerly with Google and other leading Silicon Valley technology companies. Since that time, the company has built the agriculture industry’s most advanced technology platform combining hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic data modeling, and high-resolution weather simulations to deliver a complete suite of full-season monitoring, analytics and risk-management products.
“Farmers around the world are challenged to make key decisions for their farms in the face of increasingly volatile weather, as well as a proliferation of information sources,” said David Friedberg, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. “Our team understands that the ability to turn data into actionable insight and farm management recommendations is vitally important for agriculture around the world and can greatly benefit farmers, regardless of farm size or their preferred farming methods. Monsanto shares this important vision for our business and we look forward to creating even greater experiences for our farmer customers.”
The Climate Corporation has a core set of support tools to benefit farmers. These include products that help them boost yields on existing farmland and better manage risks that occur throughout a crop season. The Climate Corporation will continue to offer its current risk-management products including an online service that provides crop planning, monitoring, and recommendations, and insurance offerings through its network of independent agents.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of Monsanto’s 2014 fiscal year. Following the acquisition, The Climate Corporation will operate its business to retain its distinct brand identity and customer experience. The company will continue to maintain headquarters in Silicon Valley and all of its employees will be offered continued employment.
Combined Company to Be a Leader in Data Science, Acquisition Expected to Drive Near-and Long-Term Growth Potential
The acquisition of The Climate Corporation represents a natural extension of Monsanto’s vision to increase crop productivity, conserve more of our planet’s natural resources and improve the lives of people around the world. It will also greatly expand The Climate Corporation’s capabilities in data science, agriculture’s next major growth frontier, an area that represents a potential opportunity of $20 billion beyond Monsanto’s core focus today. The companies estimate the majority of farmers have an untapped yield opportunity of up to 30 bushels to 50 bushels in their corn fields, and they believe that advancements in data science can help further unlock that additional value for the farm.
The combined capabilities will immediately expand both the near- and long-term growth opportunities of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems platform and research and development pipeline in the coming years.
Longer-term, the combination is expected to broaden the product choices available to farmers beyond Monsanto’s current row crop and vegetable portfolio, both inside and outside of the United States. This includes the delivery of insight and decision-support tools that could increase agriculture productivity on a billion planted acres around the globe.
Monsanto and The Climate Corporation share a commitment to delivering innovation for farmers through a broad range of choices and service providers. Monsanto noted that, consistent with its broad-licensing and multi-channel approach to technology, it intends to deliver the value of The Climate Corporation’s current and future applications through its distribution network.
Monsanto today also announced the company’s financial results for its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter and full year, including the financial effect of The Climate Corporation acquisition. For more information about today’s earnings announcement, see the press release and supporting resources available at www.monsanto.com.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows at www.monsantoblog.com, or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
About The Climate Corporation
The Climate Corporation aims to help farmers around the world protect and improve their farming operations with uniquely powerful software and insurance products. The company’s proprietary technology platform combines hyper-local weather monitoring, agronomic data modeling, and high-resolution weather simulations to deliver climate.com, a SaaS solution that helps farmers improve their profits by making better informed operating and financing decisions, and Total Weather Insurance, an insurance offering that pays farmers automatically for bad weather that may impact their profits. The company is also an authorized provider of the U.S. Federal crop insurance program, enabling authorized independent crop insurance agents to provide farmers with the industry’s most powerful full-stack risk management solution. In the face of increasingly volatile weather, the global $3 trillion agriculture industry depends on the company’s unique technologies to help stabilize and improve profits and, ultimately, help feed the world. For more information, please visit http://www.climate.com or follow the company on Twitter @climatecorp.
CEO and chairman Hugh Grant described the earnings call like “none other” as he talked about “integrated farming systems” and other things about extending the company’s advantages. The earnings loss is a sign of possibly weakening positions in some areas although the company is healthy overall, hence the reason for acquisition and diversification.
Oct 2 (Reuters) – Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, reported a larger quarterly loss on Wednesday as seed sales slipped, but total sales rose and the company said it was positioned for strong growth in 2014.
The leading developer of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and other crops also announced it was acquiring a climate data science company as part of a long-term growth plan.
Overall, the company lost $249 million, or 47 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $229 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 43 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose to $2.2 billion from $2.1 billion a year earlier, but sales of its key seeds and genomics business dropped to $1.19 billion from $1.20 billion a year earlier.
Monsanto in their own words
Year after year, farmers gain valuable insights from their crops and fields. The information helps farmers grow their crops more efficiently, and allows them to make smarter choices as they work to produce more food using fewer resources.
That’s why Monsanto’s acquisition of The Climate Corporation fits in with Monsanto’s commitment to produce more, conserve more and improve lives.
The Climate Corporation’s expertise is in data science. The company turns a wide range of information into valuable insights and recommendations for farmers. For example, recommendations may be planting a few days earlier or changing an irrigation schedule.
The ability to provide farmers better information to develop practical recommendations can help them, regardless of size or preferred production practice, produce more while most efficiently using resources.
The acquisition of The Climate Corporation represents Monsanto investment in supporting farmers by offering them novel options in the way they manage risk on farm – including weather, which is the single biggest risk farmers face on an annual basis. The Climate Corporation’s data science expertise is an important complement to our Integrated Farming Systems℠ research platform that provides farmers with field-by-field recommendations on how to maximize yield and manage risk. The Climate Corporation’s weather-modeling capabilities complement our current FieldScripts℠ offering by adding an additional dimension of analysis to seed prescriptions.