Investors are demanding about $2.5 billion from Bayer, reported Reuters in January. That amount covered lawsuits from about 320 investors, both institutional and retail, and an increase from approximately 250 investors who initially demanded over $1 billion. According to the German law firm that filed with the district court in Cologne, those institutional investors and a large number of private investors believe Bayer misled them about the economic risks of the $63 billion acquisition and are demanding damages. Bayer said any complaints were unfounded, that it has “complied with the law and with its disclosure requirements…We will therefore defend ourselves." According to Reuters, Bayer said that, "In addition we are convinced that we have carried out adequate due diligence regarding the acquisition of Monsanto.”
This isn’t the first time that investors have balked at Bayer’s Monsanto purchase. Investor Rebecca Haussmann in early 2020 accused Bayer executives of going forward with the purchase of Monsanto in the summer of 2018, despite obvious warning signs of looming legal problems and the gigantic Roundup liability exposure it would carry. Haussmann’s lawsuit said the purchase was “disastrous” and cost the company more in legal woes than it was worth given the liability costs associated with Roundup lawsuits (over 50,000 according to Bayer’s count in February 2020) that were filed by former users of the toxic weedkiller who developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as well as other claims.
Bayer now faces over 125,000 Roundup lawsuits alleging Monsanto failed to warn of the risks associated with exposure to the glyphosate-based weedkiller, which was identified as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. Bayer had agreed to settle 98,000 of those complaints but it stalled all settlement negotiations while pursuing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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While Bayer maintains that the investor lawsuits are unfounded, it has also faced other lawsuits over its Monsanto acquisition.