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Monsanto Weathers Storm With $930M Climate Deal

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Agriculture products giant Monsanto (MON) said Wednesday it would acquire analytics and risk management company Climate Corp. for $930 million in cash.

San Francisco-based Climate has a portfolio of tools, including software and insurance, aimed at helping farms protect and improve their operations.

The company's data tools provide hyperlocal weather monitoring and weather simulations, while its financial arm is an authorized vendor of the U.S. federal crop insurance program.

Monsanto, of St. Louis, in a statement said the deal would expand the combined company's expertise in the area of data science, which the company said is the agriculture sector's "next major breakthrough."

The company is banking on farmers using ever more sophisticated weather forecasting tools to help boost farm productivity.

"Everyone benefits when farmers are able to produce more with fewer resources," Monsanto chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said. "The Climate 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."

Climate was founded in 2006 as Weatherbill Inc. by a team of alums from Google Inc. and other tech firms. The company has raised at least $60 million in venture capital from investors, including Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates Inc., Index Ventures, Allen & Co. LLC, First Round Capital and Atomico Investments.

Climate CEO David Friedberg in a statement said that "the ability to turn data into actionable insight and farm management recommendations is vitally important for agriculture," and said that combined with Monsanto's reach "we look forward to creating even greater experiences for our farmer customers."

The deal announcement comes on the same day that Monsanto reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $249 million, compared to a loss of $229 million a year prior, on weak seed sales.

-- Written by Lou Whiteman in New York

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