Bayer and class action attorneys have reached a framework for the settlement of a lawsuit regarding Roundup, the herbicide that Bayer inherited when it purchased Monsanto in 2018, classified by one international scientific agency as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But a US district court judge must give preliminary approval to the framework for the negotiations to proceed, and the judge seems to have misgivings.
The 2018 deal in which Bayer acquired Monsanto (for $63 billion) is widely considered one of the worst corporate takeover deals in history, in large part because of the liabilities that Bayer inherited. Many analysts expect that Bayer will in time spin off its agriculture products to focus on its pharmaceutical side, in effect restoring the pre-deal status quo.
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The judge, the Hon. Vince Chhabria, of the district court in San Francisco, California, may yet throw a wrench into the works of this settlement and Bayer’s hopes of putting this matter behind it. The Judge has asked if it is possible to contact the many (perhaps millions) of homeowners and farm workers who may have been exposed in order to notify them that a settlement would be binding.
He also has asked why he should not require that Bayer add a warning label to packages of Roundup, a point that the company is disinclined to concede.