Bayer announced today a series of agreements today to resolve outstanding litigation relating to the company’s Roundup weedkilling product that it inherited in its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto, for a total payment of between $10.1 billion to $10.9 billion.
The company also announced settlements to resolve other Monsanto-related cases, including dicamba drift litigation for $400 million, and PCB water litigation for $820 million.
While the high price tag highlights the risk of product liability to businesses, the market reaction following the announcement demonstrates the value of the removal of such overhang risks from a stock. Since the announcement this afternoon, Bayer shares have climbed nearly 5%, adding over $3.5 billion market cap to the company’s valuation.
Bayer said that the resolution that will bring closure to approximately 75% of the roughly 125,000 outstanding Roundup cases. The resolved claims include 95% of those set for trial, and establish key values and parameters to guide the resolution of the remainder of the claims. Bayer will make payments of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current cases including an allowance for unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation.
Commenting on today’s announcement, and the benefits of the resolution, Werner Baumann, Chief Executive Officer of Bayer said, “First and foremost, the Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.” Baumann concluded, “the decision to resolve the Roundup™ litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”