Reuters reports Monsanto executives are seeking to reposition the company as a business built on data science and services, as well as its traditional chemicals, seeds and genetic traits operations.
The shift comes as the company's stock is trading at 3-year lows and since abandoning a $46 billion bid to buy Syngenta in the last several months.
According to the report, Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto's CTO said, "We transformed from industrial chemical company to a biotech company, then to a seeds company. Now, we're transforming again."
"Top executives are sketching out plans now, and briefing major shareholders ahead of a wider presentation to investors in November at the company's St. Louis headquarters.
"Fraley and others have met with at least 195 technology start-ups in recent months and identified five as potential acquisition targets, pending Monsanto's testing of products they make, company sources said.
"But the agricultural-data field is crowded, Monsanto's initial moves into the sector have had spotty results and the shifting narrative is a sharp departure from the vision Monsanto described just weeks ago, as it bid for Syngenta. That vision was of a future based on agricultural chemicals and high-tech seeds.
"The latest pivot comes as longtime profit stalwarts - the weed killer Roundup and the company's portfolio of genetically modified seeds - both are showing signs of strain. Roundup's longevity as a farmer mainstay has become vulnerable as weed resistance to its active ingredient glyphosate has grown."
The company acquired Climate Corp. in 2013 and Precision Planting in 2012. In general, farmers have been reluctant to spend money on data services as farm income has been down since 2013.
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