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Bayer mediator dismisses report of $8 billion Roundup settlement

(Reuters) – Bayer AG has not offered to pay billions of dollars to settle claims in the United States related to the Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg said, dismissing a report to that effect which drove its shares as much as 11% higher.

“Bayer has not proposed paying $8 billion to settle all the U.S. Roundup cancer claims. Such a statement is pure fiction,” Feinberg said in an email on Friday. “Compensation has not even been discussed in the global mediation discussions.”

Bayer shares, which had shed some of their gains before Feinberg’s statement, retreated further and closed up 1.7% at 64.63 euros.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers as part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto last year, declined comment on the initial Bloomberg news report and on Feinberg’s response.

Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann last week said the company would consider settling with U.S. plaintiffs only on reasonable terms, and if it “achieves finality of the overall litigation”.

Bayer shares have lost more than a third of their value, or roughly 30 billion euros ($34 billion), since last August when a California jury in the first such lawsuit found Monsanto should have warned of the alleged cancer risks from Roundup.

The German drugs and pesticides company has engaged in negotiations with plaintiffs’ lawyers, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Full report by Reuters here

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