Lawsuits from Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup haunts Bayer

Bayer is likely to face negative investor sentiments on Friday at its AGM on the way its management team handled the $63 billion Monsanto deal.

According to two sources familiar with the matter at hand, BlackRock will not support Bayer’s in a key vote at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday.

Following a U.S. jury finding that Bayer was liable for alleged cancer risks from Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup, nearly $34 billion (30 billion euros) has been wiped off from its market value since August.

In 2018, Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion.

Last month, Bayer suffered a similar courtroom defeat and now faces more than 11,000 such lawsuits.

BlackRock, which owns nearly 7.2% of Bayer’s voting rights, plans to either abstain from or vote against ratifying the management board’s actions during the year under review, said sources.

The vote of confidence, which is largely symbolic, “will send a message to the board” that BlackRock is not at all happy with the way Bayer’s management handled the Monsanto deal.

A vote to ratify the board’s actions features prominently at every German AGM; it however has no bearing on management’s liability, but is seen as a key gauge of shareholder sentiment.

Temasek and Norway’s oil fund, Bayer’s next two biggest shareholders, have declined to comment on their AGM voting intentions.

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