Monsanto Gives CEO Hugh Grant 64% Pay Raise as Bayer Deal Looms

(Bloomberg) -- Monsanto Co., the seed company that agreed to be acquired by Bayer AG, increased Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant’s pay 64 percent to $19.5 million for fiscal 2017 after he missed out on a cash bonus last year.

Grant, 59, got a $6 million bonus and $11 million of stock awards for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, along with a $1.7 million salary and other compensation, St. Louis-based Monsanto said Thursday in a regulatory filing. It marks the first time since 2002 that Grant, who’s also chairman, didn’t receive stock options because the Bayer deal prohibits it. The stock awards include $5.65 million of retention compensation in lieu of options.

Monsanto exceeded all performance goals for earnings per share, free cash flow and net sales, and its $2.44 billion of adjusted net income topped the $1.56 billion required for executives to receive bonuses. In fiscal 2016, they fell short of their $2.02 billion hurdle.

Monsanto is seeking regulatory approval for Bayer’s $66 billion takeover, which would be the biggest ever in the global seed and chemical industry. The German company said in October that it hopes to complete the acquisition by early 2018.

Monsanto is the world’s biggest supplier of genetically modified seeds, while Bayer is the leading producer of pesticides. Opponents of the deal have argued that combining the companies will drive up prices for farmers and increase the usage of genetically modified organisms. Bayer and Monsanto counter that it will leave them better able to research new products to help farmers produce more food.

U.S. regulators say food from genetically engineered plants is as safe as that from non-genetically engineered sources. The European Union also has approved GMO products for sale.

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