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Abbott & Cobb selling melon seed business to Bayer

Bayer CropScience has entered into an agreement to purchase the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott & Cobb Inc., a privately held seed company headquartered in Feasterville, PA. Closing is expected within a few weeks, and financial details were not disclosed.

The acquisition will strengthen the vegetable business of Bayer CropScience, which operates under the "Nunhems" brand and is a key segment for the company, according to a June 12 press release issued by Bayer. About 30 employees of Abbott & Cobb are expected to join the vegetable seed business of Bayer CropScience.

Abbott & Cobb has a robust watermelon position in the United States, with increasing business in Mexico, Australia and Asia, making the acquisition a significant step forward for the presence of Bayer CropScience in this market, according to the press release. In addition, the melon business and the germplasm will broaden Bayer CropScience´s existing seed portfolio further and will be the basis for future new hybrids.

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," Sandra Peterson, chief executive officer of Bayer CropScience, said in the press release. "We plan to achieve sales of about EUR 3 billion with seeds, traits and crop protection solutions for fruits and vegetables by 2020. Our vegetable seed business is essential for this."

"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," Douwe Zijp, head of the Bayer CropScience vegetable seed business, added in the press release.

Art Abbott, CEO of Abbott & Cobb, which was founded in 1917, said in the press release, "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. Together we will build on the long tradition of our company offering high-quality products and excellent service."