U.S. to Allow Bayer’s Monsanto Takeover

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has decided to allow Bayer AG’s BAYRY 2.27% megadeal to acquire Monsanto Co. MON 6.19% , valued at more than $60 billion, after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets to secure government antitrust approval, according to people familiar with the matter.

An agreement in principle between the companies and the department, brokered in recent days, marked a breakthrough in the U.S. merger review process, which had remained in limbo because of Justice Department concerns about the deal.

Monsanto shares rose more than 6% in recent trading after The Wall Street Journal reported on the Justice Department’s decision.

Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann and Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant recently met with Justice officials in Washington to help secure an agreement, people familiar with the matter said.

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The Bayer deal presented the Justice Department with its second major merger decision under Trump administration leadership, following its move last November to challenge AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc., a case that is currently in trial.

Deal makers and investors remain eager for more data points on the administration’s approach, but there does appear to be one common thread between the two decisions. In each transaction, the department’s antitrust division sought structural changes to the deal, in the form of asset sales, instead of promises from the companies on how they would run their businesses postmerger.

AT&T didn’t agree. Bayer did.

Germany’s Bayer, a pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, is a leading player in the pesticide industry, while Monsanto, based in St. Louis, is a market leader on seeds and crop genes. The deal, which was announced in September 2016, would make Bayer the world’s biggest supplier of pesticides and seeds for farmers.

The European Union last month conditionally approved the deal after Bayer agreed to sell off more than $7 billion worth of assets to rival BASF SE . The sales include Bayer’s soybean and cottonseed businesses, as well as Bayer’s glufosinate weedkiller, which competes against Monsanto’s Roundup.

U.S. antitrust officials continued to harbor concerns. After the EU’s move, the Justice Department said the deal could have different competitive effects on American farmers and consumers, citing for example the market for genetically modified seeds, which are widely used in the U.S. but largely prohibited in Europe.

As part of an agreement with U.S. antitrust enforcers, people familiar with the matter said Bayer will divest additional seed and seed-treatment assets and will make concessions related to its digital agriculture business, which provides data-driven farming advice and services. BASF will also acquire those assets, the people said.

It isn’t clear when U.S. approval could be completed.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, this opportunity is about combining highly complementary businesses and bringing new innovative solutions to our customers,” Bayer said in a statement. “We remain confident in our ability to obtain all necessary regulatory approvals and look forward to continuing to work diligently with regulators to support that process. We anticipate closing in second quarter 2018.”

A Monsanto spokeswoman pointed to a company earnings statement last week, in which Monsanto said it “continues to be confident in the companies’ collective ability to secure the required approvals within the second calendar quarter of 2018 and in the time contemplated by the agreement.”

Representatives for the Justice Department and BASF declined to comment.

Bayer’s purchase of Monsanto is the third in a series of megadeals that have reshaped the $100 billion global market in crop seeds and chemicals.

Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. last year completed a merger that united the companies’ agricultural divisions, which eventually will be spun out into a new company called Corteva Agriscience. Swiss seed and pesticide maker Syngenta AG last year completed its $43 billion sale to China National Chemical Corp., expanding the state-owned company’s heft in high-tech seeds and pesticides.

This consolidation has raised worries among farmers, who are struggling against a global crop glut that has pushed down prices and farm incomes. Groups including the National Farmers Union have urged antitrust enforcers to block the deals, warning that diminished competition among the global giants that dominate development of crucial farm supplies could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for already-strapped farmers.

“A game of ‘musical chairs’ among a dwindling set of market players is not a prescription for healthy, competitive agricultural [supply] markets,” wrote officials for the NFU, the American Antitrust Institute and Food & Water Watch, in a letter sent to the Justice Department last year.

Bayer and Monsanto executives have said combining would allow the companies to bring better products to market faster by integrating research across chemicals, seed breeding and biotechnology.

The companies still need some additional approvals, including from regulatory bodies in Canada and Mexico.

While analysts have generally expected the deal to close, some have warned of uncertainty around the Justice Department review.

There have been recent public signs that the Justice Department was heading toward allowing the deal.

The department had a group of lawyers preparing for possible litigation on the Bayer transaction in case talks broke down, but a leading member of the team, Julie Elmer, is now working on the department’s current litigation against the AT&T-Time Warner deal. Ms. Elmer appeared in court for trial proceedings last Thursday and questioned an AT&T witness on the stand.

Write to Brent Kendall at brent.kendall@wsj.com and Jacob Bunge at jacob.bunge@wsj.com

Appeared in the April 10, 2018, print edition.

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A crash in Nicholasville claims a man’s life

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – A car crash killed a man early Easter morning in Jessamine County.

The sheriff’s office says 23-year-old Sergio Cortez from Nicholasville died around 4 a.m. when his car hit a tree on Ramsey farm.

Deputies say Cortez was likely speeding.

Cortez’s passenger was injured and taken to UK hospital.

According to the sheriff’s office, this is the fourth fatal crash in Jessamine County that deputies have worked this year.

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He built many homes, rebuilt many lives; Ball Homes founder, philanthropist Don Ball dies | Lexington Herald Leader

Don Ball, founder of Ball Homes and a major Lexington philanthropist, died Friday. He was 81.

Ball helped reshape lives in Lexington and other Central Kentucky communities in 1993 with the founding of the Hope Center, which develops programs to address the underlying causes of homelessness, including addiction.

“In countless ways, Don Ball’s vision and dedication propelled the Hope Center to grow and thrive. In fact, the Hope Center probably would have had to close its doors decades ago if not for Don Ball,” said Cecil Dunn, executive director. “His life’s work was building houses. His life’s passion and purpose were helping others – particularly those who were desperately in need of a second chance. …Don Ball was a builder of homes. He was a rebuilder of hope and a rebuilder of lives. His contributions will be felt for generations to come.”

With his wife, Mira, Don Ball created Ball Homes in 1959, which has built thousands of Kentucky homes, according to the companies web site. Still a family-owned business now in the hands of the second generation, Ball Homes helped to create the neighborhoods of Masterson Station in Lexington, Brannon Oaks in Nicholasville, The Landing at Pleasant Valley in Georgetown, and Cedar Ridge and Rose Ridge in Versailles as well as many others across the area. In recent years the company expanded to Louisville and to Tennessee and is now ranked as one of the top 100 builders in the country.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted on Friday night: “Kentucky has lost a business titan, successful innovator and generous supporter of the downtrodden, especially those looking for a second chance in life… Don Ball will be missed by many…”

Don Ball was a modern day Horatio Alger. Truly the self-made man. Yet he never lost the common touch and a heart for those less fortunate.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray

In 2016, UK awarded the Balls with honorary doctorates of humane letters for extraordinary contributions to philanthropy, human development, education, or societal well-being.

“Don Ball spent his life quietly and steadfastly committed to building and re-building foundations – foundations of hope and healing, service and faith, business and education,” University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said in a statement. “Don, a proud UK alum, and Mira, who chaired our Board of Trustees, would never seek the spotlight of acclaim and attention. They only cared about people and getting things done on behalf of those in need and for the Commonwealth. The result is a set of enduring foundations, built in service to others.”

A member of the Kentucky General Assembly in the 1960s, Don Ball also served as co-chair of the Recovery Kentucky Task Force, which established a network of 17 residential recovery centers across the Commonwealth based on the Hope Center that Ball founded.

“In public service, business, and philanthropy, Don and his wife Mira touched countless lives with their kindness and generosity,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Although Don always put his state and country first, he was truly a founding father of the modern Republican Party of Kentucky. His talents were only matched by his passion for serving those in need, especially in Central Kentucky.”

A ceremonial ribbon cutting in 2008 marked the opening of the Hope Center’s George Privett Recovery Center. From left, Luther Deaton of Central Bank, Myra and Don Ball of Ball Homes, Bonnie Quantrell, Hope Center Chair Randy Breeding, Gov. Steve Beshear and Cecil Dunn, the Hope Center’s executive director.

Tom Eblen teblen@herald-leader.com

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said Ball will be greatly missed. “He helped countless Kentuckians launch their careers in either business or politics, including myself.”

Don and Mira Ball were honored with many awards for their community service, including the BUILDER Magazine and Hearthstone with a national award for his long-term community service. In 2000, both Don and Mira Ball were honored with the Optimist Cup Award, and in 2004 with the A.B. “Happy” Chandler Foundation’s Kentuckian Award. In 2011, Don and Mira Ball were honored to be the recipients of the W.T. Young Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lexington Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes persons who have achieved unparalleled success in business and who have also made significant other contributions to the public well-being in Lexington and the state of Kentucky.

“Don Ball was a modern day Horatio Alger. Truly the self-made man,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. “Yet he never lost the common touch and a heart for those less fortunate.”

Ball Homes and the Ball family are long-time supporters of Habitat for Humanity, the Hope Center, the Alzheimer’s Association, the United Way, KET, the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the University of Kentucky, Junior Achievement, the Junior League Horse Show, and a host of other charity organizations and events, according to the company’s web site.

Recent philanthropic efforts include support of Hoops for Haiti and UK’s Dance Blue marathon to benefit children with cancer and their families, and UK HealthCare’s Overture to Healing Lexington Philharmonic concert benefit. In 2009, Ball Homes sponsored the first annual Ball Homes Night of Hope, a benefit for Lexington’s Hope Center.

The Home Builder Association of Lexington inducted Don and Mira Ball, the founders of Ball Homes in to it Hall of Fame in 2012.

Mark Mahan

1n 2012, co-founders Don and Mira Ball were inducted into the Home Builders Association of Lexington’s Hall of Fame in recognition of service to the state of Kentucky and the homebuilding community.

The Balls also founded Donamire Farm, a picturesque Thoroughbred horse farm in Lexington that became the site of many charity events.

Don Ball is survived by his wife, Mira; sons Ray and Mike and daughter Lisa Ball. Funeral arrangements are pending under the direction of Milward Funeral Directors.

Don Ball, stands in the training barn Feb. 1, 2000 where some scenes from “Simpatico” were filmed at his Donamire Farm.


Janet Patton: 859-231-3264, @janetpattonhl

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NICHOLASVILLE – Harold L. Higgs, 89, passed away Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Wesley Village in Wilmore. He was a lifelong resident of Jessamine County having been born December 25, 1926 to Robert Taylor and Jimmie Goss Higgs. A 1945 graduate of Nicholasville High School, he entered the Army the following week serving proudly and with distinction. He attended Transylvania College and met Mary Lee Williams, his beloved wife for 64 years until her death in 2015. He worked as an electronics technician at Lexington Blue Grass Army Depot until his retirement in 1981, leaving him free to pursue other interests and serve his community. He was a private pilot, an Eagle Scott, an avid RV camper, and held amateur radio license K4AKD for over 60 years. He had been a member of the Lions Club, Jessamine Amateur Wireless Society, the Nicholasville Housing Authority, and has served Nicholasville Presbyterian Church as deacon, elder, and trustee. He will be remembered for his kindness, his wit, and the many stories he loved to tell. Survivors include a son, Bill (Liz) Higgs, a grandson Matthew (Beth) Higgs, and a granddaughter, Lillian Higgs, all of Louisville, as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Services will be held 2pm Saturday, November 28, 2016 at Betts & West Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Maple Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be from 11am until time of service Saturday. Memorial contributions may be made to Nicholasville Presbyterian Church or Hospice of the Bluegrass. Online guestbook at www.BettsanedWestfuneralhome.com

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The Railroad Disaster at Nicholasville, Ky.

CINCINNATI, Tuesday, June 9.

The following are the casualties by the locomotive explosion at Nicholasville, on Saturday last:

Thirty-fifth Massachusetts — Three killed, one mortally wounded and one seriously.

Seventh Rhode Island — One killed, named BERTLEY.

Fifty-first New-York — One slightly wounded.

Ninth New-Hampshire — N.B. BLACKMER, mortally wounded; Sergeant W.O. FLORENCE, slightly.

The New York Times Archives

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Adaptive sports showcased in Jessamine County

Nicholasville, Ky. (WKYT) – Saturday, dozens of folks paid a visit to the Jessamine County Public Library to check out the Adaptive Sports & Recreation Expo.

The expo was put on by Raymond Jones and his daughter. Jones said this event provides an opportunity for the physically challenged and able-bodied alike, to get hands-on experience with sports and recreations that are available in the area.

Those activities included sled hockey, wheelchair tennis, adapted bocce ball and wheelchair racing. They also had an adapted equine program.

"I want to be able to get out and do stuff, but there is not a lot of things to do and I wanted to know more about what I was capable of doing,"
explained 13 year-old Trenton Angell.

Angell says he is really interested in wheelchair racing.

"What were saying the people is don’t let your disability define you. Find a place, plug into something and find out really what can you do you may find that you have possibilities you never dreamed of," said Jones.

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T. J. Mays, 27, Nicholasville, KY

T. J. Mays, 27, Nicholasville, KY T. J. Mays of Nicholasville, formerly of Campbellsville, KY, died at 8:51amET, Friday, February 19, 2018 in Nicholasville. Visitation will be from 10amET until 1pmET, on Friday, February 23, 2018 at Parrott & Ramsey Funeral Home, 418 Lebanon Ave., Campbellsville, KY.

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Firefighters battle flames and bitter cold at Nicholasville apartments

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A large fire in Jessamine County forced several people out into the bitter cold Thursday afternoon.

It happened at an apartment complex on North Central Avenue. Fire crews were called the scene just before noon.

When firefighters arrived they tell us four units were fully involved in flames. Between the fire, heavy smoke, and water not turning to ice, people living at the apartments say they do not have much hope their belongings will survive.

The Nicholasville Deputy Fire Chief says at one point, several people were trapped inside but crews were able to rescue them. We’re told all the people who lived the apartments made it out safely. Two cats are missing, however.

Nehemiah and Kiernan Easley waited anxiously for hours outside the burning building, for any news on their missing pets.

"We’ve had our cats for at least a good two years but we weren’t able to get them out because he was getting my mom out. In a rush to get the humans out we left the cats in there and we’re really scared because they’re a part of our family. We don’t want them to die."

Several hours later both cats were rescued. There’s no word yet on their condition.

Jessamine County Emergency management officials set up tents and handed out blankets to try and keep people who were evacuated warm.

Fire crews say the entire apartment building is damaged by smoke and described as "unlivable." Emergency management is putting some of the displaced residents in a hotel for the night.

The Red Cross is also stepping in to aid victims of the fire. The Red Cross is meeting with the families to determine their individual needs and to distribute comfort kids, blankets and toys for children.

Investigators have not said how the fire started, but there are reports that some children may have been playing with matches at the time.

The Lexington fire department was called in to man fire stations in Jessamine County, because Nicholasville city and Jessamine County crews were battling the fire at the apartment.

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MANN Thomas Edwin, 64, passed away on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at his home in Lexington, Kentucky. He was born on June 21, 1952 and was married to Marilyn "Elisa" Marr Mann for 30 years. He was preceded in death by his parents Cyrus "Jack" Mann and Minta Bushong Mann of Lexington. Tom was an award winning Nationwide Insurance agent in Lexington for 25 years after a successful real estate career in south Florida where he met his wife Elisa. Tom was a devoted sports dad for his children and an avid Kentucky Wildcat fan. He was often seen enjoying his Harley Davidson motorcycle throughout Lexington and Central Kentucky. He was a longtime member of the Lexington Chapter of the Harley Owner Group or HOG. Tom is survived by his wife Elisa, his son Braden Mann (fianc‚e Danielle Harsin) of Carrollton KY, his daughter Rachel Mann of Lexington KY, and his mother and father in law Wayne and Marilyn Marr of Stuart FL. He is also survived by brothers George Mann (Brenda) of Wilson NC, John Mann (Rennie) of Nicholasville KY, and Joe Mann (Peggy) of Nicholasville KY along with cousins, nieces, nephews, and their extended families. A Gathering of Family and Friends will be on Sunday, December 4 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Clark Legacy Center, Brannon Crossing. In lieu of flowers, plants, or gifts memorial contributions are suggested to The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, Attn: Supporting the Cause, 485 Half Day Rd Ste 350, Buffalo Grove IL 60089. www.clarklegacycenter.com.

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Home Goods store coming to Nicholasville

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT)- A new store is coming to Brannon Crossing in Nicholasville.

According to Nai Isaac Real Estate Company, says home goods will open a location in the shopping center.

Marshalls who is also in the shopping center and Home Goods are owned by the same company.

Home Goods sells household items for decorating, cooking, and gifts.

This will be the fifth Home Goods in Kentucky a second in the Lexington Area.

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