Investor Alert

May 25, 2020, 5:24 a.m. EDT

Bayer rises on report of U.S. lawsuits progress

By Jessica Sier

Shares in Bayer AG traded higher Monday morning following a report that the German chemical company has made significant headway in settling lawsuits in the U.S. related to its Roundup weedkiller.

Bayer shares were 6.9% higher at EUR61.64 at 0840 GMT after Bloomberg reported progress on the settlements.

According to a Bloomberg report, Bayer has made verbal agreements with a large portion of about 125,000 U.S. cancer lawsuits connected to use of its Roundup weedkiller. The potential deals would cover an estimated 50,000 to 85,000 suits and are part of a $10 billion plan to end the legal battle surrounding the product, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

"We have made progress in the Roundup mediation discussions," Bayer said in a statement responding to the report. Bayer declined to comment on specifics or the potential timing of any announcements.

"As we have said previously, the company will consider a resolution if it is financially reasonable and provides a process to resolve potential future litigation."

Bayer has been negotiating settlements over claims that its Roundup herbicide causes cancer. The Roundup product was inherited as part of the company's $63 billion acquisition of agricultural chemicals company Monsanto in 2018.

Bayer said there were 52,500 plaintiff cases as of April 14, as previously reported. But the company expects the number to rise.

"We expect these numbers will rise given the heavy plaintiff advertising --$100 million in plaintiff TV advertising in 2019 alone--combined with speculation about settlement, factors that have driven up plaintiff numbers in the past," Bayer said.

Write to Jessica Sier at jessica.sier@wsj.com

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