Worst deal ever? Bayer’s market cap now close to the total cost it paid for Monsanto
What does one of the worst corporate deals in modern history look like? In Bayer’s Monsanto takeover, it means the value of an entire company has gone poof. Bayer acquired Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018 after a tough buyout battle and intense antitrust scrutiny. The German conglomerate’s market cap in Frankfurt today is close to that dollar amount—and that’s after rumors of an $8 billion Roundup settlement drove up its shares by more than 15% in early August. At a 30% loss of share value since it closed, the deal stands as one of the worst, sitting alongside AOL’s merger with Time Warner and Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide, The Wall Street Journal has found. The Monsanto takeover, championed by CEO Werner Baumann, sure boosted Bayer’s crop science business. But the original idea was that it wouldn’t hamper the company’s ability to make investments on the pharma side, which has been Bayer's growth engine for years. The two firms cut a deal in September 2016 after Bayer raised its offer several times. But antitrust pressures delayed the takeover, and to please the U.S. Justice Department, Bayer ultimately agreed to sell off $9 billion worth of assets. But in the meantime, lawsuits claiming Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer were advancing—and Bayer would soon feel their sting.