As the lawsuits pile up and stock value continues to drop, Bayer is likely rethinking its purchase of RoundUp Weedkiller from Monsanto. Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, is now saying the company would be willing to settle with all the litigants suing with claims their cancer diagnoses were the result of the controversial chemical glyphosate in RoundUp Weedkiller. So far the number of lawsuits from U.S. consumers who maintain that the herbicide caused them to develop cancer has risen to 18,400.
There is a catch to the settlement offer, however: Bayer’s definition of what a “reasonable settlement” amount would be for all the Roundup cases is unlikely to match up with estimates from lawyers representing users of the weedkiller. Baumann said on a conference call that he is open to a settlement as long as it resolves all Roundup litigation. The Bayer CEO declined to say how much a “financially reasonable” sum would be or whether he was referring only to the current load of cancer cases or the possibility of future Roundup suits tied to other ailments.
Bayer’s shares have plunged about 40% in the last 12 months amid concern over legal claims that Roundup and its main ingredient, glyphosate, can cause cancer (Bloomberg).