(UR) Germany — There are few companies on this planet which are hated as zealously as Monsanto. The company has faced opposition from a plethora of environmental groups, governments, civil societies, celebrities, concerned citizens, and even former employees, for decades. With a track record for creating multiple health-damaging poisons — from Agent Orange, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), to saccharin, genetically modified terminator seeds, and RoundUp — the company may have finally painted itself into a corner.
The brand often regarded as ‘Monsatan’ might be looking for a way to pretty-up its image by entering a merger with another pesticide-making juggernaut, Bayer AG. The world’s environmental watchdogs will try vehemently, though, to stop it.
Bayer isn’t any better than Monsanto, but they are not the bogeyman — the literal face of corporate evil — which immediately comes to mind regarding the multinational company from St. Louis, Missouri.
Bayer AG is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company that was founded in 1863. The company is not only one of the largest producers of aspirin and other pharmaceutical medications, but Bayer Crop Science also has its hand in developing agricultural poisons, patented genetically modified seed — and some of Bayer’s board members are even responsible for helping to create the Federal Reserve. You could argue that Bayer and Monsanto are equally the face of evil, the only difference is that Monsanto’s dirty laundry is aired more frequently as the media’s preferred punching bag and, ostensibly, the mistress of our world’s misdirected chemical romance.
Despite annual marches around the world against Monsanto, the company has not been dissuaded. It has, despite recent stock plunges and job layoffs, been successful enough that Bayer AG has offered $62 billion (€55 billion) to acquire it. If the merger goes through, the morphed Monsanto/Bayer mega-company would control almost 30 percent of the global pesticide market.
Asked this week by the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, whether Bayer would bury the Monsanto brand, chief executive Werner Baumann said, “Suffice to say that Bayer enjoys an excellent reputation and appeal worldwide. We must take advantage of that.” Even so, Bayer would have to shed part of its business due to antitrust concerns.
Environmental groups aren’t letting the deal happen quietly. They’ve been especially vocal about the possible merger in Germany; and as part of the E.U., which is opposing long-term glyphosate approval, the country’s activists may spark a worldwide outcry against an even bigger company tasked with poisoning the planet.
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