It looks like Roundup maker Bayer might see the writing on the wall. After losing three attempts to convince juries that its flagship herbicide Roundup wasn’t causing customers to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, reports are surfacing of the corporation’s attempts to find a suitable amount to settle the matter.
Information leaked from those said to be familiar with the negotiations indicates that Bayer has offered up to $8 billion to resolve ongoing and future cases, although the mediator in the matter calls the number “pure fiction.” “There have been absolutely no discussions to date of dollars or what the compensation would be for a global resolution,” said Kenneth Feinberg. Feinberg is a well-known mediator who oversaw funds for victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as well as owners of Volkswagen vehicles affected by the auto manufacturer’s scandal over its software-based emissions cheating.
Analysts have called the $8 billion offer a “great deal” for Bayer if it’s accepted, although plaintiffs have stated that they want to see the company pay nothing less than $10 billion to close the issue, with some demands going as high as $20 billion.
Bayer is not Roundup’s original creator. Glyphosate, Roundup’s main ingredient, was introduced to the market by Monsanto; an agricorporation whose name is synonymous with secrecy and – for some – extraordinarily shady business practices. Bayer acquired Monsanto last year in a deal worth some $63 billion. Shortly after, a series of lawsuits began peeling back the veil of secrecy shrouding the corporation and consumers began learning the lengths Monsanto had gone to promote glyphosate and hide its risks from regulators and the general public.
To date, Bayer has gone to court to defend Roundup three times. It has lost all three cases and juries have awarded victims billions of dollars in damages, although those amounts have subsequently been reduced by judges. However, with over 18,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits still waiting to be heard and more being filed every day, the losses for Bayer are likely to continue to mount.
Investors rewarded the move as the corporation’s stock price rose over seven percent on news of the ongoing negotiations. And, while a complete agreement is likely to still take considerable time, both sides are serious enough about the effort that lawyers for Bayer and various plaintiffs have asked courts to delay their cases until a formal settlement offer is made.