Monsanto foresees strong benefits from a takeover of Syngenta, which makes heavy research and development (R&D) investments in crop technology to increase the average productivity of crops such as corn, soybeans, sugar cane and cereals.
Monsanto, meanwhile, is focused on conventional and biotech seeds and last year raised its R&D spending to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion in 2013.
"There is a clear strategic logic to a deal," one of the industry sources said. "Syngenta is the only available target in crop protection. It's no wonder Monsanto continues to circle the company."
A deal would come as prospects for genetically modified (GM) crops are improving in the European Union after a change in its legislation unlocked a stalled approval process. Monsanto owns the only GM product approved for cultivation in the EU, a modified maize.
Despite the two companies' cultural affinity, a merger may be challenged by antitrust regulators, primarily in North America, where the two groups are already seen as market leaders in the seeds industry.
German chemicals company BASF and U.S. petrochemicals group Dow Chemical could be among possible bidders for all or parts of Syngenta, one of the sources said.
He mentioned Chinese state-owned firm, China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina), as another possible buyer with strong appetite to bulk up its European presence, though Syngenta may be reluctant to cede control to an Asian rival.
Spokesmen at BASF and Dow Chemical declined to comment, while representatives of ChemChina were not immediately available for comment.
Syngenta, which was formed in 2000 by the merger of Novartis Agribusiness and Zeneca Agrochemicals, also competes with Bayer CropScience and DuPont Pioneer.