People hold signs during a demonstration against agribusiness giant Monsanto in 2013. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
by Caitlin Dewey June 4 Email the author
This is the end of Monsanto as the world has long known it.
New owner Bayer announced Monday that it will nix the brand name as soon as August, when its $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto is expected to be complete.
The merger, approved by the Justice Department last week, will create the largest seed and agrochemical company on Earth, uniting Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically modified crop portfolio.
[Justice Department approves Bayer-Monsanto merger
in landmark settlement]
In the process of amassing that portfolio, Monsanto has become one of the most-hated large companies in the world. Its name is regularly splashed across protest banners and invoked in arguments against the alleged harms of pesticides and GMOs.
The decision to drop Monsanto’s name is part of a wider campaign to win back consumer trust, said Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, during a Monday call with journalists. In a separate statement Monday, Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said the company would redouble its efforts to engage with critics.
“The more important point now, once we change the company name, is that we talk about what the new company will stand for,” Condon said. “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to consumers why this new company is important for farming, for agriculture and for food, and how that impacts consumers and the environment.”