Bayer said Monday that it has offered to buy Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, potentially creating a giant agrochemicals company that would span genetically modified seeds and pesticides to antibiotics.

Bayer, which is based in Germany, is probably best known as a pharmaceutical company with its iconic aspirin a staple of store shelves for more than 100 years.

But it also has a long history in agriculture and said buying Missouri-based Monsanto would strengthen its hand in that market. Monsanto’s history as one of the first companies to create a genetically engineered seed has made it controversial.

“Together we would draw on the collective expertise of both companies to build a leading agriculture player with exceptional innovation capabilities to the benefit of farmers, consumers, our employees and the communities in which we operate,” said Werner Baumann, chief executive of Bayer.

But it is unclear whether Monsanto will accept the offer or whether U.S. regulators would balk at the creation of such a large industry competitor.

Bayer is offering Monsanto shareholders a hefty premium, more than 30 percent, to buy the company. The offer comes amid an industry slump.

It also comes after chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont agreed to merge into a $130 billion behemoth, then split again into three companies.

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