(August 6, 2018) Bayer’s embattled CEO may drive a Monsanto Roundup settlement. Bayer shares had fallen dramatically after three straight juries agreed that Roundup causes cancer. But those shares jumped last month after the company CEO revealed plans aimed at resolving lawsuits linked to glyphosate, reported InsuranceJournal.com. Bayer revealed that it had hired an outside lawyer to advise its supervisory board about the merits of a potential settlement. The German drug and chemical giant also set up a special committee to help resolve its Monsanto glyphosate litigation.
Bayer’s share price rose with the potential settlement news. InsuranceJournal.com further reported that a fund manager at Union Investment, one of Bayer‘s largest German shareholders, said the higher share price was likely buffeted by some stockholders anticipating an earlier settlement.
“Investors want more certainty as quickly as possible,” said Mark Manns. “But it is for management to weigh up a quick settlement against how many billions you could save by holding out [for a later settlement].” Mr. Manns added that Bayer‘s negotiation position for now was “highly unfavorable.”
13,400 Roundup (Glyphosate) Lawsuits
Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion just before the first verdict against Roundup hit the company – a $289 million judgement for a California groundskeeper in August 2018. Bayer now faces more than 13,400 plaintiffs who allege Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer caused their cancer. The corporate giant still contests that claim, despite the company’s 0-3 record in defending its Roundup poison, which is used to kill weeds and anything else not genetically modified to withstand its toxic assault, including indispensable flora in the human gut. The company also lost an $80 million verdict and a $2 billion verdict.
Another major German shareholder, Deka Investment, said that Bayer’s hiring more legal expertise was “the right step,” as the move also acknowledged shareholder criticism.
Elliott Associates, which holds Bayer shares worth 1.1 billion euros ($1.25 billion), said that Bayer’s recent moves help resolve uncertainty linked to glyphosate and help lead to settlements with limited financial costs.
Major shareholders have criticized Bayer for its handling of the Monsanto glyphosate issue; they gave Bayer’s top management a vote of disapproval at its April 2019 annual general meeting.
One of the company’s top shareholders, Janus Henderson, welcomed the measures taken by Bayer as “sensible.” He said they may lead to an earlier-than-expected settlement.
Mr. Henderson said he expects Bayer will lose its next glyphosate trial, which is scheduled for this month in Monsanto’s old hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
Like Bayer, Henderson is banking on the appeal processes starting later in the year He said that process “represents [Bayer’s] best chance to change momentum in sentiment.”
Bayer CEO may drive Monsanto Roundup Settlement
The best financial scenario for Bayer at present seems to be an affordable settlement deal which allows farmers continued use of Roundup products. But nothing is assured. The best we can hope for is that the justice system moves quickly. People and their families injured by Roundup deserve compensation for their losses. Monsanto failed to warn them of glyphosate’s terrible toll. The company must now compensate those whom they failed to treat as sentient human beings put in harm’s way by Roundup and glyphosate.