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Why COVID-19 shutdown may benefit Bayer in Roundup talks and in value

"It is a well-established company that's very cheap at the moment. The coronavirus outbreak has generated an even more convenient price"
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — Bayer AG, which is engaged in settlement talks over lawsuits brought by 52,500 plaintiffs claiming the Roundup weedkiller caused their cancer, may benefit from the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say.

The shutdown has closed courthouses around the country, preventing additional lawsuits against Bayer — which lost the only three cases to go to trial — from going forward.

"That gave more time to assess the impact of the pandemic and may help Bayer keep the total amount of Roundup settlements under $10 billion," Bloomberg reported

Bayer's stock price also has been made more attractive by the epidemic, analyst Riccardo Bartoloni wrote.

"Bayer can be a very good opportunity today: It is a well-established company that's very cheap at the moment," he said. "The coronavirus outbreak has generated an even more convenient price." Bayer was trading in the $17 range Tuesday. 

Bayer, which acquired Roundup in its $63 billion acquisition of St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. in 2018, also raised concerns about liquidity due to a recession and a possible Roundup settlement. The German company said it would consider only a “financially reasonable” settlement that resolves the potential for future claims. 

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