China National Chemical Corp., commonly known as ChemChina, has increased its offer to acquire Syngenta to $44.6 billion after Syngenta rejected its $42 billion offer earlier in November. The industry is speculating that a deal between ChemChina and Syngenta is likely to be announced Friday, Dec. 11.

The recent wave of mergers was triggered last summer when Monsanto offered to acquire Syngenta for $47 billion. Ultimately, Syngenta rejected the offer and has fended off other offers and previously announced this week that it was reconsidering selling its flowers and seeds business. In the meantime, the agricultural industry remains under pressure from low commodity prices due to heavy stocks. As a result, merger discussions have picked up this fall.

The new offer from ChemChina could also spur a counteroffer from Monsanto.

Merger Fever

Also grabbing attention this week has been the merger talks between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. The possibility of that merger could trigger a wave of consolidation in the industry especially if ChemChina acquires Syngenta.

Although Bayer AG has said it’s not interested in selling its pesticide business, Monsanto may still be interested in pursuing licensing deals with the company, it has been reported.

The Dow and DuPont proposed merger are being conducted under pressure from activist investors. However, this merger would likely face a U.S. antitrust review since the two companies are the two largest American chemical manufacturers. The investigation would be conducted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and would look at products that compete between the two companies.