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August 9, 2019

Report of $8 Billion Roundup Settlement Dismissed by Bayer Mediator

The attorney in charge of mediating the Roundup weedkiller litigation in the United States rejected reports of Bayer AG paying $8 billion to settle all Roundup weedkiller claims in the US.

“Such a statement is pure fiction,” Feinberg asserted in an email on Friday. “Compensation has not even been discussed in the global mediation discussions.”

The report first found in Bloomberg News drove Bayer AG shares higher by as much as 11%. These shares significantly dropped after Bayer AG purchased Monsanto for $63 billion last year. However, after Feinberg’s statement, shares retreated and closed up 1.7% at 64.63 euros. Bayer declined to comment on both the Bloomberg report and Feinberg’s response to the news report.

Currently, Bayer AG and subsidiary Monsanto face over 18,400 claims in the United States accusing the drugs and pesticides manufacturers of failing to warn consumers of health risks of using Roundup weedkiller. About 1,300 of those Roundup claims currently pend in the US federal court system and have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of California. Judge Vince Chhabria, judge presiding over all federal Roundup cases in the U.S, ordered for both parties to engage in a mediation process with Ken Feinberg to work towards a Roundup settlement for the US litigation.

Last week, Werner Baumann, Bayer Chief Executive, said the company would think about a Roundup settlement with plaintiffs in the US only if the terms were reasonable and if it “achieves finality of the overall litigation”. He also commented that the company was “constructively engaging” in the mediation process with Feinberg.

Roundup Settlement: High Plaintiff Expectations

Roughly, Bayer AG shares have lost $34 billion in value since August 2018 when a California jury ruled in favor of a plaintiff alleging their cancer was caused by glyphosate in Roundup weedkiller. The next scheduled Roundup lawsuit in the US was recently postponed to Jan. 27, 2020 instead of later this month. Some speculate the delay could be so Bayer can pursue settlement talks instead. Roundup plaintiffs’ lawyers want over $10 billion from Bayer AG in order reach a Roundup settlement, but Bayer AG has stated they could only offer about $6-$8 billion to settle.

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