April 10, 2019 / 1:58 PM / a month ago

Bayer shareholder Deka joins chorus of investor ire over Monsanto

FRANKFURT, April 10 (Reuters) - One of Bayer’s largest shareholders bashed the company’s management for underestimating the legal risks of its takeover of Monsanto, setting the stage for a confrontational annual general meeting following a 30 percent share price drop.

Bayer shares have lost about 30 billion euros ($34 billion), since August, when a U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto unit did not warn of weedkiller Roundup’s alleged cancer risks. It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month.

“It’s quite drastic when a takeover triggers such value destruction and reputational damage so quickly. There can be no talk of a successful takeover any more,” Ingo Speich, the head of sustainability and corporate governance at Deka Investment, told Reuters. He will be among the shareholders to speak at the April 26 AGM.

“What’s startling is that things have effectively moved beyond management’s control because we’re now at a point where the decisions over future development are made in court rooms,” he said, adding that Bayer had definitely underestimated the legal risks.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss Editing by Edward Taylor

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