Bayer AG said Wednesday that it had reached a roughly $10.5 billion deal to settle tens of thousands of lawsuits with U.S. plaintiffs alleging the company’s Roundup herbicide causes cancer, a milestone in the German company’s legal battle that has been weighing down its share price for nearly two years, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Investors have long been waiting for a settlement to bring clarity over how much the legal battle will cost Bayer. Wednesday’s deal follows months of heated talks between Bayer and plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Bayer, which also makes pharmaceuticals, inherited thousands of lawsuits against Roundup inventor Monsanto Co. when it acquired the U.S. agriculture giant in 2018. Monsanto has a large plant in Luling, where a component of Roundup is made. Unknown is how the settlement will affect the Louisiana facility.
Three jury-trial losses tanked shares and sparked a revolt among shareholders angry at Bayer’s management for plunging the company into one of the worst crises in its history with the $63 billion Monsanto acquisition.
Bayer has argued that Roundup is safe and has repeatedly defended the Monsanto acquisition. The company plans to continue selling the product, without altering the label. That created a unique legal conundrum for the company over how it could guard itself against potential future litigation.
As part of the deal with plaintiffs’ attorneys, Bayer said it would pay between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion to settle claims brought by lawyers representing some 95,000 plaintiffs. The company said it would set aside $1.25 billion to work toward a resolution of future claims, including to establish and fund a panel to evaluate whether the product causes cancer to help shape the outcome of litigation going forward. Read the full story.