German pharmaceutical firm Bayer’s shares jumped by up to 11 percent on Friday, after media reported that the company may settle the avalanche of US lawsuits over weed killer Roundup for $8 billion.
Bayer has deployed its legal team for talks with former Roundup users’ lawyers, Blomberg reported, citing sources. The negotiations, currently ongoing in New York City, are reportedly aimed at resolving all current cases and any future cancer claims filed over the glyphosate-based Roundup pesticide, which is blamed for causing the deadly decease.
The company indicated it could pay a sum of between $6 billion and $8 billion; however, plaintiffs are demanding more than $10 billion to drop their claims, Bloomberg said. Given that there are around 18,000 lawsuits against the company, if the $8 billion settlement is equally distributed, the drugs maker would pay around $444,444 for each claim.
Bayer’s talks with plaintiffs’ lawyers were also reported by Reuters, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The possible deal was gladly met by investors as Bayer stock posted one of its best intraday gains in a decade, trading at around €69 per share. The shares slightly declined later, but were still up 4.65 percent as of 10:33 GMT.
Bayer, the world’s largest seed and pesticides company by sales, bought Monsanto in a $63 billion deal last year and inherited thousands of lawsuits over Roundup. The company denies the cancer-link claims, insisting that research has proved the safety of Roundup’s main component, glyphosate.
The German pharmaceutical giant stock was crippled by trial losses. Recently, a US jury awarded a couple from California $2.055 billion in punitive damages for Monsanto’s failure to warn of Roundup’s cancer risks; Bayer stock plunged around 7 percent. However, the payout was significantly reduced by a higher court, which ruled that the victims would receive a total of $86 million.