Bayer’s chief executive acknowledged on Friday that he will face an uphill battle to improve Monsanto’s reputation once Bayer completes the takeover of the Creve Coeur-based seeds and agrochemicals company.
“Monsanto’s image does of course represent a major challenge for us, and it’s not an aspect I wish to play down,” Werner Baumann told shareholders at Bayer’s annual general meeting.
The Monsanto name has been linked to a number of controversial products, including Agent Orange, PCBs and glyphosate. Its leadership in the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) also has been a source of criticism, especially in Europe, where there is strong opposition to genetically modified products.
Bayer and Monsanto plan to wrap up the $66 billion transaction by the end of 2017. As part of this, Bayer aims to file for European antitrust approval during the second quarter.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch