|Bid||58.76 x 28400|
|Ask||58.78 x 2100|
|Day's Range||58.10 - 59.49|
|52 Week Range||52.02 - 97.03|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.19|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||57.76|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.80 (4.76%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
A federal judge on Monday slashed a damages award Bayer AG owed a California man who blamed Roundup weed killer for his cancer, to $25.27 million from $80.27 million, while rejecting the company's bid for a new trial. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said evidence against the former Monsanto Co, which Bayer bought last year, supported the $5.27 million in compensatory damages that a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman. Chhabria nonetheless reduced punitive damages to $20 million from $75 million, saying that while Monsanto "deserves to be punished" the higher award was "constitutionally impermissible" because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said evidence against the former Monsanto Co, which Bayer bought last year, supported the $5.27 million in compensatory damages that a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman. Chhabria nonetheless reduced punitive damages to $20 million from $75 million, saying that while Monsanto "deserves to be punished" the higher award was "constitutionally impermissible" because it was nearly 15 times the compensatory damages award.
A US federal judge on Monday slashed damages owed by Bayer in a case related to claims that exposure to weed killer Roundup causes cancer. US district judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco reduced the award to $25.3m from the jury’s original verdict of $80.3m. Mr Chhabria also rejected Bayer’s request for a new trial.
(Bloomberg) -- German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said glyphosate herbicide probably won’t have enough support to gain re-authorization for use in the European Union after 2022.Germany shouldn’t follow Austria, whose parliament recently voted to ban products containing glyphosate, Kloeckner said in an interview with Der Tagesspiegel, pointing out that the EU’s clearance of the chemical lasts through 2022. German politicians are instead working on plans to find safe alternatives to it, said Kloeckner, a Christian Democrat.Glyphosate is a polarizing topic in Germany. Bayer AG acquired Roundup -- the world’s best-selling weedkiller, whose active ingredient is glyphosate -- in its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto Co. last year. Since then, the German drugs and chemicals giant has lost three trials in the U.S. from people claiming Roundup caused their cancer -- and its shares have plunged almost 40%.EU laws call for companies wishing to maintain approval for glyphosate to submit an application by Dec. 15, three years before the current authorization expires. Agencies in France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden are charged with performing the initial assessment of applications.The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization headquartered in Lyon, labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen in 2015, a claim Bayer rejects. The company says that other studies and regulators have shown the chemical is safe.To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Loh in Munich at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at email@example.com, James Amott, Cecile GutscherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Brazilian cotton producers in the state of Mato Grosso on Thursday sued Bayer AG , seeking to cancel the chemical company's patent protection for its Bollgard II RR Flex genetically modified cotton seed, according to a statement sent to Reuters. The farmers, hoping to regain $151 million in royalty payments, claim the genetically modified seed does not constitute a de facto technological innovation, according to the statement issued by the Mato Grosso Cotton Producers Association (AMPA). The lawsuit also names Brazil's national patents office as a defendant.
Investors love the companies that keep pets healthy. Now a merger between two of the five largest players could mean more gains for shareholders.
FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) - Bayer has approached U.S. drug firm Elanco Animal Health to discuss a possible combination of their pet-health businesses to create an industry giant, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The two companies are working with banks to ensure any merger would secure regulatory approval, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Bayer has delayed the launch of an auction to private equity funds to clinch a bilateral deal with Elanco, the fourth-largest player in the animal health industry globally, the sources said.
Singapore's Temasek Holdings posted the smallest rise in its portfolio in three years as key bank stock holdings declined in value, and the state investor said it was increasingly focusing new investments in North America, Europe and on unlisted firms. "Trade and technology tensions are already disrupting supply chains, business confidence is being tested and capital investments have slowed," Png Chin Yee, a senior managing director at Temasek, told a news conference on Tuesday. Temasek's 1.6% portfolio gain for the year to March 31, 2019 came after a 12% increase a year ago and took its net portfolio value to a record S$313 billion ($230 billion).
(Bloomberg) -- Temasek Holdings Pte may report its first decline in net portfolio value since 2016 as global trade uncertainties and volatile equity markets take their toll.Singapore’s state investor, which had S$308 billion ($226 billion) in assets as of March 2018, will release its 2019 annual report Tuesday. CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun, who has been covering Temasek for over a decade, predicts the figure may dip to S$300 billion.Investors globally are facing a tough environment as the trade war between China and the U.S. clouds the market outlook and other issues like Brexit dent returns. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte last week said overhyped valuations in developed markets were also a concern.While a decline in that vicinity would be within the range envisaged by Temasek in its 2018 annual report, it would only represent the fund’s third fall in a decade (net portfolio value dipped in 2016 and again in 2009 during the global financial crisis).Temasek struck a 3 billion euro ($3.4 billion) deal to buy a substantial stake in Bayer AG in April 2018, only to see the German healthcare and agricultural giant lose more than one-third of its value amid a flurry of lawsuits relating to claims a weedkiller brand it acquired when it took over Monsanto Co. causes cancer.The Singapore investor also holds a large interest in U.S. telecoms provider CenturyLink Inc., whose shares slumped 27% in the 12 months through March 31 (Temasek’s financial year-end) after a string of setbacks including a customer lawsuit alleging fraud.Tougher YearIt’s also a shareholder in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., down 14.6% over the period, and DBS Group Holdings Ltd., down 8.3%.“For everybody, it’s been a far tougher year,” said CIMB’s Song. “When you’re so large you tend to have a presence in large, representative companies across many industries. When it works, it works it works very well. But as we’ve seen with the Monsanto case, when when it doesn’t, it can flip against you.”Song said he expects Temasek to have an enlarged focus on backing firms that place importance on sustainability amid the rise of environmentally conscious consumers. Temasek’s direct equity investments peaked at $6.13 billion in the second quarter of last year, based on estimates by the Sovereign Wealth Center in London, the Business Times reported last month.Rohit Sipahimalani, Temasek’s co-head of investment, said in May the fund was seeking to make investments related to six themes: longer life spans, rising affluence in emerging markets, sustainable living, smarter systems, the sharing economy and the connected world.Sipahimalani also said Temasek was paying more attention to tech companies and getting in before their initial public offerings because “if you’re not in there early, it’s difficult to catch the wave.”To contact the reporter on this story: David Ramli in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Katrina Nicholas at email@example.com, Sam MamudiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
A juror who was part of a panel that delivered an $80 million award against Bayer AG after finding that its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup caused a man's cancer has urged the presiding judge to uphold the decision. A letter from the juror written on July 4 was posted to the court docket on Monday as part of legal filings by Bayer. The company accused the juror of bias and called on the judge to disregard the letter in his decision making.
Bayer will apply for approval to make its blockbuster blood thinner Xarelto available for treating children, the German company said on Monday, after a study showed strong efficacy and safety in children with thromboembolism. Bayer added that it would submit an application to the European Medicines Agency for an extension of the Xarelto marketing authorisation. Xarelto is Bayer's best-selling drug and contributed 3.6 billion euros ($4.04 billion) in revenue to the group's pharmaceutical business last year.
(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG Chief Executive Officer Werner Baumann sought to reassure German investors about the prospects of settling litigation over the company’s Roundup weedkiller, an effort to regain their confidence after an unprecedented rebuke at the company’s shareholder meeting in April.The embattled CEO held a series of meetings in Frankfurt this week with key shareholders, according to people familiar with the situation. The outreach comes as the company battles thousands of lawsuits from people who say the weedkiller caused their cancer. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have said the cases could result in a settlement of as much as $10 billion.Baumann told investors that Ken Feinberg, the high-profile mediator appointed to lead settlement talks for some of the cases, met with both parties and wouldn’t have agreed to take the job if he didn’t think he could broker a deal, according to one of the people, who asked not to be named because the investor discussions were private.A Bayer representative declined to comment.Bayer is trying to win over shareholders concerned that it mishandled the fallout over Roundup after acquiring the herbicide last year in the $63 billion purchase of Monsanto Co. The German company rejects claims that the weedkiller causes cancer and has vowed to keep fighting after losing three trials since the Monsanto deal closed last summer.The meetings came at an auspicious time. A federal judge said he’ll probably reduce -- but not throw out entirely -- an $80 million jury verdict against Bayer in the second case to go to trial over claims that Roundup causes cancer.Damage AwardU.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing Tuesday in San Francisco that part of the damages awarded to a California man for his pain and suffering may have been miscalculated and that the $75 million portion of the verdict intended to punish the company may be too high.Bayer is working to rehabilitate its image as it battles mounting suspicion over the safety of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate. Austria’s parliament earlier this week voted to ban herbicides containing glyphosate, a first in the European Union.Questioned by a shareholder about the Austrian decision, Baumann largely dismissed it, saying that farmers will have a difficult time getting by without glyphosate, one of the people said.The meetings follow a vote against Baumann by shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in April, where a majority of investors opposed absolving the CEO and other managers of responsibility for their actions in the Monsanto takeover.To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Kresge in Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org;Eyk Henning in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Marthe FourcadeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Sydney's city council said on Friday it was reviewing its weed management, which included the use of Bayer AG's Roundup, after other councils in Australia began cutting ties with the product amid concerns about possible links to cancer. The council, which covers the city's business centre, was "reviewing (its) weed management methods and investigating other technologies", a spokeswoman told Reuters in an email, a day after a strike by workers at a nearby council pressured it into trialling an alternative weedkiller. The City of Sydney council currently used Roundup "as a last resort ... when non-pesticide methods such as hand-weeding and mulching have been ineffective", and began testing alternative products in late 2018, the spokeswoman added.
A federal judge will reconsider a jury’s $80 million damage award to a cancer victim who used Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer.
Bayer AG ADRs were higher Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he would reduce a jury's $75 million punitive-damages award against the company in a case involving the Roundup weed killer. The plaintiff in the case, Edwin Hardeman, had said that Monsanto's Roundup weed killer caused his cancer. Bayer purchased Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018.
(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge said he’ll probably reduce -- but not throw out entirely -- an $80 million jury verdict against Bayer AG in the second case to go to trial over claims the company’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer.U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing Tuesday in San Francisco that part of the damages awarded to a California man for his pain and suffering may have been miscalculated and that the $75 million portion of the verdict intended to punish the company may be too high. Punitive damages aren’t supposed to be more than nine times bigger than compensatory damages, he said, citing past court decisions.Bayer shares rose as much as 1.9% in Frankfurt trading. The German company has vowed to keep defending its popular weed killer after losing three trials since last summer, when it acquired Monsanto Co., the maker of Roundup since the 1970s. But the product is coming under attack globally. Austria’s parliament late Tuesday voted to ban herbicides containing Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, a first in the European Union.The U.S. case under discussion was brought by Edwin Hardeman, who used the herbicide on his large plot of land in Sonoma County, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. As with many of the other 13,400 consumers suing Bayer, Hardeman alleged that his years of exposure to the chemical caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.One verdict won by a school groundskeeper in San Francisco state court was reduced by a judge to $78.5 million from $289 million. This month, Bayer is set to ask a state judge in Oakland, California, to throw out a $2.055 billion award to an elderly couple. Chhabria said that verdict probably will be cut significantly.Why Bayer Shares Are Facing Such Trials Over Roundup: QuickTakeBayer is scheduled for a fourth trial this summer in St. Louis, where Monsanto was based.Chhabria said at the hearing that he’s weighing the “reprehensibility” of Monsanto’s behavior in evaluating damages. The judge referred to email and documents presented at Hardeman’s trial in March to show that Monsanto ghostwrote influential studies and improperly leaned on regulators. Bayer countered that scientific studies demonstrated the herbicide is safe and argued to the jury that damning emails were taken out of context.“There was nothing suggesting that anybody at Monsanto viewed this issue objectively or with any amount of caring for human beings,” Chhabria said. “Where was the evidence that Monsanto actually cared about whether these concerns being raised about its product might have some validity?”The judge said he’s also considering ordering a new trial for damages only -- not liability -- in Hardeman’s case.Chhabria is handling the collection of hundreds of federal suits over Roundup. In May, he appointed mediator Ken Feinberg to try to work out a settlement. At the hearing the judge confirmed that both sides gave their permission for Feinberg to talk to him as part of the mediation.The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).(Updates with Austria’s planned ban in third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Blumberg, Marthe FourcadeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the jury's $75 million punitive damages award to plaintiff Edwin Hardeman in March could not stand. "It's quite clear that under the Constitution I'm required to reduce the punitive damages award and it's just a question of how much," Chhabria said during a court hearing in which lawyers for both sides discussed the company's request to overturn the verdict. Following a four-week trial, a federal jury on March 27 awarded $5 million in compensatory and $75 million in punitive damages to Hardeman, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Chemicals giant Bayer AG has been ordered to pay more than $2 billion in damages after three juries found that people using herbicides sold by its subsidiary Monsanto Co. contracted cancer after many years of use. This isn't good news for Bayer investors. But it might be good news for anyone who hopes that unethical corporate conduct ultimately comes with a price.Documents seen during the trials reveal that Monsanto has for years employed unscrupulous means to protect its profits, attacking scientists and journalists who have tried to expose the risks of using the company's products and enlisting teams of paid consultants posing as independent scientists to spread disinformation in scientific literature. Academics Review, which claims to test “popular claims against peer-reviewed science,” is actually a propaganda outlet funded by Monsanto and others in the chemical industry.None of this is illegal. But it isn't ethical. And it may ultimately not be profitable, either.Related: Roundup Cancer Lawsuits: Is a Settlement Coming?Glyphosate, patented by Monsanto in the early 1970s, is the active ingredient in the company's hugely popular weed killer Roundup. Hundreds of millions of pounds of similar glyphosate-based herbicides are sprayed on crops worldwide each year. I wrote about glyphosate recently, looking at what scientists know about its biological effects, which go well beyond cancer. One recent study exposed rats to small doses of glyphosate and found that, while the exposed animals and their direct offspring were OK, the next two generations had serious problems, with high rates of prostate, kidney and ovarian disease, as well as birth abnormalities. Effects like this — due to epigenetic mechanisms — don't show up in the standard toxicology studies still used by regulators.Monsanto hasn’t hesitated to suppress damaging news about its products. The spate of recent lawsuits — some 13,000 are still pending — were stimulated by the 2015 conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a body of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate is “probably” carcinogenic. Soon thereafter, a series of papers appearing as a supplement in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology strongly criticized the IARC findings and accused the body of sloppy scientific practice. These papers, it turns out, weren't real science at all, but fake science produced by paid consultants at the behest of Monsanto. The journal's publisher later added notes to these papers, clarifying that the authors had not disclosed their connections with Monsanto, a violation of ethics. But the papers still exist, and the clarifications aren't as obvious as they could be, which is how such disinformation works. I came across one of these fake papers when researching my previous article on glyphosate, and I initially took it seriously. I almost didn't pursue my column further, only discovering the paper's dubious origins after some digging.Monsanto has been doing this kind of thing on a grand scale, manipulating both academics and journalists. In her 2017 book “Whitewash,” journalist Carey Gillam detailed how Monsanto and other agricultural chemical companies have systematically covered up the dangers of their products and sought to control and hide damaging data. It was discovered earlier this year that a woman posing as a BBC reporter at a Monsanto cancer trial in San Francisco was actually a “reputation management” consultant for a firm working for Monsanto.It's not hard to see why companies are so desperate, as evidence grows that many other chemicals besides glyphosate are causing serious health and environmental problems. One mentioned to me by biologist Pete Myers of Carnegie Mellon University is bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical widely used in plastic bottles and in resins used to line tinned food containers. In a recent online forum, experts described recent findings that BPA exposure can cause breast cancer, kidney problems and prostate inflammation in rats, even at very low doses comparable to the ones humans are currently exposed to. Sadly, the current science that regulators rely on for toxicity testing is wildly out of date. This suits the companies just fine, as the older techniques are insensitive to many health effects. “Regulatory agencies use science out of the Jurassic,” Myers told me in an email. “The possibility that they might begin to use modern science is an existential threat to the chemical industry as we know it.”Bayer may ultimately find a way to stem the financial bleeding by settling pending lawsuits. Even if that happens, its current plight should be a warning to investors about the risks facing hugely profitable chemical giants.To contact the author of this story: Mark Buchanan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Buchanan, a physicist and science writer, is the author of the book "Forecast: What Physics, Meteorology and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- After getting pummeled with more than $2.2 billion in damages in the first three trials over its Roundup weed killer, Bayer AG needs to step it up on defense. Enter John Beisner.The veteran lawyer who has guided companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. in their fights against multibillion-dollar product-liability lawsuits was tapped to advise Bayer executives how to up the company’s game against allegations that Roundup causes cancer.Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer faces claims by more than 13,000 consumers who blame its glyphosate-based herbicide for their cancers and an estimated cost of as much as $10 billion to settle the litigation. Beisner may be able to offer new approaches for getting juries receptive to arguments the weed killer is safe, said Jean Eggen, a Widener University law professor.“This guy is known as a fighter, so I don’t think they brought him in to start settling these cases,’’ said Eggen, who teaches classes about environmental law and mass torts -- personal injury litigation against corporations that involves large volumes of claims. “Bayer really believes they are right when they say Roundup doesn’t cause cancer.’’Bayer said Beisner’s appointment as an adviser to a board committee overseeing the Roundup litigation was designed “to add fresh and independent perspectives’’ on how to handle the cases and mediation sessions aimed at resolving them. Beisner was traveling and unavailable for comment.Why Bayer Shares Are Facing Such Trials Over Roundup: QuickTakeThe Roundup suits have weighed heavily on the German company after it acquired St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. –- which started marketing the herbicide in the 1970s -- for about $63 billion last year. Bayer’s stock sunk to its lowest level in more than six years in May after a California jury awarded more than $2 billion in damages to an elderly couple who blamed their cancers on the weed killer they’d be using for more than 30 years. Bayer is appealing that verdict and the other two cases it lost in California.Bayer’s move to shore up its legal defense --along with securing a key vote of confidence from major shareholder Elliott Management Corp. -- boosted the conglomerate’s shares more than 8 percent in Frankfurt trading on Thursday, their biggest intraday gain since March 2009.Beisner, who heads the Mass Torts, Insurance and Consumer Litigation Group at New York-based Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, isn’t the first high-profile lawyer to wade into the Roundup saga. Last month, the San Francisco federal judge who is handling hundreds of suits over the herbicide appointed uber-mediator Ken Feinberg to see if he can work out a settlement.Feinberg, recognized as one of the leading dispute-resolution gurus in the U.S., was tapped to administer compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2010 BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He also was hired by Volkswagen AG to oversee compensation for car owners affected by the diesel emissions-cheating scandal.Feinberg and Beisner, who have served together on several class-action law panels over the last 15 years, shouldn’t have any problem working together, Eggen said. “The overall goal is to come up with some kind of a resolution that’s acceptable to everyone,’’ she added.Bayer Truth or Dare: ‘Get Up and Drink It,’ Roundup Juror SaysPlenty of Beisner’s cases have settled after years of legal trench warfare. The defense specialist quarterbacked J&J’s efforts to fend off allegations that its metal-on-metal Pinnacle hips were defective and left recipients in pain and facing metal poisoning.After more than four years of trials -- including two resulting in a total of more than $1.5 billion in damages handed down against J&J and its Janssen unit -- the company agreed to pay more than $1 billion to end the cases, according to people familiar with the deal. The company disclosed in a May filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it created a “settlement program’’ to resolve the cases and all “adverse verdicts,’’ but provided no numbers.Beisner also served as Merck’s field marshal for combating claims that the company’s withdrawn Vioxx painkiller caused fatal heart attacks and blood clots. The company tried more than a dozen cases over the claims, but ultimately paid $4.85 billion to resolve the majority of them in 2007. Merck also agreed to pay another $950 million and have a unit plead guilty to a criminal charge to settle government probes of its Vioxx marketing.Mark Lanier, a nationally known plaintiffs’ lawyer who squared off with Beisner in both the Vioxx and Pinnacle cases, said if his old adversary adopts his traditional playbook, Bayer will see the inside of many more courtrooms before settlement talks heat up.“Beisner is an interesting choice by Bayer,’’ Lanier, whose firm has filed about 500 Roundup cases, said in an email. “He is known for fighting as long as possible before capitulating’’ and calling in settlement negotiators, Lanier said.Richard Arsenault, a Louisiana-based lawyer who also has tangled with Beisner in the past, describes him as a no-holds barred litigator known for his tenacity. “While we rarely see eye to eye -- his views on mass tort litigation are radically different than mine -- he is a determined advocate on behalf of his clients,’’ Arsenault said in an email.Mike Brock, a Washington-based product-liability defense lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis LLP who is working with Beisner on defending J&J from claims its talc-based Baby Powder causes cancer, says he’s known for having a steady hand.“John will not panic over a setback or two in a major litigation,’’ Brock said in an email. “I think clients take a lot of comfort from his ‘we can stand a little heat in the kitchen’ approach to issues that arise in cases.’’Beisner has had some experience with adverse outcomes in the talc litigation. Last year, a St. Louis jury ordered the world’s largest maker of health-care products to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who blamed its Baby Powder for causing their cancers. Lanier served as the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer in the case. That award is being appealed.For Bayer on Trial, Weeding Out Roundup-Wary Jurors Isn’t EasyBeisner also has his work cut out for him in the Roundup cases. After seeing the company poleaxed in the first two trials, disgruntled Bayer investors rebuked the company’s German management at its annual shareholder meeting in April.The next trial is slated for this summer in St. Louis. Besides being home to Monsanto’s former headquarters, it’s also known for juries that are friendly to plaintiffs.Beisner, who did his undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas and got his law degree at the University of Michigan, has testified before U.S. House and Senate committees about litigation-reform initiatives.Beyond his role as a litigation overlord, Beisner has been recognized for figuring out how to resolve thorny cases. He helped Bank of America negotiate a $16.65 billion settlement of a government probe of the bank’s lending practices, according to Skadden’s web site. The deal included a “creative loan modification program intended to help more than 400,000 families’’ keep their homes, the law firm said.The Bayer case may be even more complex than parsing notoriously dense documents describing the subtleties of mortgage-backed securities, said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who specializes in mass-tort cases.“I think its a Herculean task Mr. Beisner is taking on and he’s going to have nothing but an uphill battle trying to win some of these cases,” Tobias said in an interview. “I would not want to be in his shoes.”The consolidated Bayer cases are In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).(Updates with stock move in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Tim Loh.To contact the reporters on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at email@example.com;Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Peter Blumberg, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
A popular way to bet on Germany's stock market rang up the worst one-day drop since early June, as eurozone survey data showed manufacturers were at their most downbeat this month since September 2013. The Global X DAX Germany ETF fell 2.6% on Thursday, marking its sharpest decline since a 5% drop on June 3, according to FactSet data. Yields on 10-year German bonds, known as bunds, were negative 0.303%, near its record low, after German data showed that a reading of inflation, the German consumer price index, held steady at 1.3%, holding at level below the at or near 2% target most central bankers prefer. On the bright side, shares of Bayer AG closed up 8.7% after the company set up a supervisory committee to address its legal battle with cancer patients over its herbicide Roundup. Clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz closed 14% higher, marking its best daily gain since Sept. 17, 2018, after reporting stronger-than-expected sales.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. wants Bayer AG to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming the pharma group’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. Remove the uncertainty caused by the litigation, and 30 billion euros ($34 billion) of value could be released, Elliott argues. That is easier said than done.If Bayer traded at multiple of 15 times estimated earnings, in line with its peers, its market capitalization would be closer to 95 billion euros rather than its 56 billion euros today. That estimate is even higher than the company’s market value was in August just before the first adverse ruling against Roundup.The gap largely reflects the uncertainty of the situation – both the possible costs of further legal defeats and the difficulty of gauging future sales of Roundup and other agricultural herbicides based on the chemical glyphosate.Bloomberg Intelligence reckons a settlement could cost between $6 billion and $10 billion. From shareholders’ perspective, that’s a price worth paying if clarity restores even a third of Bayer’s lost market value. Hence Elliott’s request.Bayer is acting like it gets the idea. It is making positive noises about mediation. It has also hired a star lawyer: the company will have a better chance of getting a fair settlement if it can show it has a stronger hand in the courtroom.Fighting to settle, rather than win, would be the best approach. Bayer has argued Roundup is safe when correctly used, but it has lost three consecutive cases. Its expert evidence has been weighed by juries and has failed to convince them.A new legal team could try to put different arguments and experts in front of jurors. But consider, too, the heavy punitive damages being awarded – $2 billion in the last case. These are likely to reflect jurors’ dim view of Monsanto's corporate conduct as concerns about the weedkiller’s safety emerged. This issue will recur in every future case.Appealing would cost Bayer time. By the same token, a settlement would deliver a certain and faster resolution for the thousands of plaintiffs. The individual circumstances of each case make it hard to gather them together into a swiftly-resolved class action.The snag is that even a fair settlement would not mean a return to business as usual. The best financial scenario for the company would be a deal that is affordable, with farmers continuing to use glyphosate and Roundup staying on sale, perhaps with modified instructions about how consumers should use it appropriately. This is not assured.Moreover, Bayer will still merit a management discount for all that has happened, and a conglomerate discount given its unproven strategy of combining pharmaceuticals and crop science.CEO Werner Baumann misjudged the risks of buying Monsanto, a deal that brought Roundup with it; he has taken too long to revise his litigation strategy. He could yet turn the situation around by resolving the lawsuits and extracting synergies from the acquisition. Until he does, the jury is out both on his future and a break-up.To contact the author of this story: Chris Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Hughes is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals. He previously worked for Reuters Breakingviews, as well as the Financial Times and the Independent newspaper.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG rose the most in a decade after hiring a high-profile lawyer to fight a slew of cases over its Roundup weedkiller and receiving a major vote of confidence from Elliott Management Corp.Bayer’s moves to bolster its response to the wave of Roundup lawsuits, including hiring lawyer John Beisner as an adviser, signal a “step change,” the New York-based activist hedge fund said in a statement Wednesday. The shares rose as much as 8.3% in Frankfurt trading on Thursday, their biggest intraday gain since March 2009.The German company has been dogged by investor unrest since last year’s takeover of agricultural giant Monsanto. Activist fund Elliott, which disclosed a $1.3 billion stake on Wednesday, said Bayer could unlock 30 billion euros in shareholder value with a settlement.Bayer’s stock has fallen about 40% since the Monsanto acquisition was completed, wiping out about 40 billion euros of market value.Perception ProblemDisgruntled investors rebuked the company’s management at its annual shareholder meeting in April, as judgments mount from claims that Monsanto’s star herbicide, whose active ingredient is the chemical glyphosate, causes cancer. Bayer has said that studies show no cancer link.The company is starting to shift from a narrowly scientific view of glyphosate’s risk toward taking public perception into account, Markus Mayer, an analyst at Baader Bank AG, wrote in a note to clients. “The chance of legal agreements is rising,” he said.Bayer has already lost three lawsuits in U.S. courts. The costs of settling the remainder is estimated by Bloomberg Intelligence at $6 billion to $10 billion.Elliott believes the liability range would more likely be in the range of 4 billion euros to 6 billion euros, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because it wasn’t public.“A settlement would be positive, but not at any price,” said Markus Manns, a fund manager for Union Investment, which holds Bayer shares.Bayer Split?Elliott has a track record of overhauling the companies in which it invests. It teamed up with Veritas Capital to acquire Athenahealth Inc. for about $5 billion after a contentious battle involving the CEO’s departure. Whitbread Plc agreed to sell its Costa coffee chain in January after pressure from Elliott and Sachem Head Capital Management LP. In December, Bloomberg News reported that Elliott wanted Bayer’s management to consider splitting the conglomerate into separate companies making pharmaceuticals and crop products.Elliott did not detail how Bayer could unlock the value of its underlying assets. It said it looks forward to the company building on the announcement with a commitment to the exploration of “long-term value creative levers” beyond the immediate governance and litigation issues.“While resolving the litigation challenge is clearly an immediate priority, Elliott believes Bayer could do more to maximize long-term value for all its stakeholders,” the hedge fund said in the statement. “Bayer’s discounted share price today does not reflect the significant underlying value of its constituent businesses.”What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Elliott Advisors wants two things out of Bayer: settlement of its glyphosate lawsuits, which we think could cost it $6-$10 billion, and an eventual split, which we think would resonate with other shareholders. Elliott has been successful in 78% of its campaigns that have concluded to date, and in this case is likely to be pushing at an open door.”- Christopher Perrella and Michael Shah, BI AnalystsClick here to read the pieceBayer said in a statement Wednesday that it plans to set up a supervisory board committee dedicated to handling the more than 13,400 U.S. plaintiffs claiming that Roundup caused their cancer. The company said Beisner, of the Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom law firm, will advise the committee, and that it’s looking to further bolster its board with regard to food and agriculture.Beisner “will provide very valuable and concrete advice on the ongoing litigation as well as the mediation,” Chairman Werner Wenning said Wednesday.(Updates with earlier Elliott moves in the eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Naomi Kresge.To contact the reporters on this story: Eyk Henning in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org;Scott Deveau in New York at email@example.com;Tim Loh in Munich at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at email@example.com, ;Liana Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org, John Lauerman, Marthe FourcadeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
shares traded near the top of the European market Thursday after activist investor Elliot Advisors revealed a $1.1 billion stake in the chemicals group and supported plans to boost its legal team in the face of thousands of Roundup weedkiller lawsuits. Elliot revealed its stake late Wednesday after Bayer said it hired outside counsel to advise its supervisory board amid myriad lawsuits linked to its glyphosate-based weedkiller, known as Roundup, which is assumed following its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto last year. Bayer said it hired Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP's John Beisner to provide "fresh and independent perspectives" to the board as the company faces more than 13,000 separate lawsuits and billions in potential fines and settlements.