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posted by martyb on Tuesday June 05 2018, @07:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-worry...-just-take-two-Bayer®-asprin-and...-oh,-wait dept.

Monsanto, a brand name activists love to hate, will disappear as Bayer takes over:

These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead.

And soon Monsanto will be no more. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant and pesticide powerhouse, announced in 2016 it would be buying Monsanto in an all-cash deal for more than $60 billion. Now, as the merger approaches, Bayer has confirmed what many suspected: In the merger, the politically charged name "Monsanto" will be disappearing. The combined company will be known simply as Bayer, while product names will remain the same. The move is not exactly a surprise — it makes sense that Bayer might want to weed out some of the intense negative associations associated with the Monsanto brand. In a way, it's an indication of how successful anti-Monsanto protesters have been in shaping public perception.

In the company's latest statement, Bayer implicitly acknowledged how hostile debates over genetically modified crops and other agricultural products have become. "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," the chairman of Bayer's board of management, Werner Baumann, said in the statement. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It's the only way to build bridges."

Also at Reuters.

Previously: Bayer AG Offers to Buy Monsanto
Bayer Purchases Monsanto for Around $66 Billion

Roundup: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
RoundUp Glyphosate Found to Cause Kidney Failure and Elude Tests
Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate
Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
GMO Grass That 'Escaped' Defies Eradication, Divides Grass Seed Industry
Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Tuesday June 05 2018, @09:04AM (3 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @09:04AM (#688781)

    They pulled that shit before. Remember, Bayer really is IG Farben [], a company that everybody really, REALLY hated after WWII. From the Wikipedia page:

    During World War II, IG Farben used slave labor in factories that it built adjacent to German concentration camps, notably Auschwitz,[27] and the sub-camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.[28] IG Farben purchased prisoners for human experimentation of a sleep-inducing drug and later reported that all test subjects died.[29][30] IG Farben employees frequently said, "If you don’t work faster, you’ll be gassed."[31] IG Farben held a large investment in Degesch which produced Zyklon B used to gas and kill prisoners during the Holocaust.[32]

    After World War II, the Allies broke up IG Farben and Bayer reappeared as an individual business "inheriting" many of IG Farben's assets.[29] Fritz ter Meer, an IG Farben board member from 1926 to 1945 who directed operations at the IG Farben plant at Auschwitz, was sentenced to seven years in prison during the IG Farben Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was elected Bayer's supervisory board head in 1956.[33]

    In 1995, Helge Wehmeier, the head of Bayer Corporation, publicly apologized to Elie Wiesel for the company's involvement in the Holocaust at a lecture in Pittsburgh.[34]

    After the Monsanto name is buried, it'll be business as usual and people will forget - just like they forgot about IG Farben...

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Hartree on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:39PM

    by Hartree (195) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @05:39PM (#688945)

    Beat me to it, Rosco. :)

    I was going to make a joke that in order to avoid controversy, Bayer was renaming its Monsanto Division to I.G. Farben and it's best selling insecticide to Cyclone Beta.

    (Does this count as a Godwin? Yeah, I think it does...)

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:09PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:09PM (#688968) Journal

    After the Monsanto name is buried, it'll be business as usual and people will forget - just like they forgot about IG Farben...

    This isn't some fly-by-night scam operation where it costs a few hundred dollars to move the business over to a new name. Monsanto probably spent more on branding than they ever did on fines for wrongdoing. That's all lost.

    As to these brand names, what really is the point of remembering them? It's not the brand that matters, but the activity. And the usual groups will remain focused on that for good and ill.

  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:21PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday June 05 2018, @06:21PM (#688976) Journal

    Remember, Bayer really is IG Farben

    From the linked Wikipedia page, emphasis by me:

    Bayer became part of IG Farben, a German chemical company conglomerate, in 1925.

    Looking at the page about IG Farben [] (a different page than the one you linked from that word), you'll find:

    IG Farben was founded on 9 December 1925, as a merger of the following six companies:[3]

    • BASF
    • Bayer
    • Hoechst (including Cassella and Chemische Fabrik Kalle)
    • Agfa
    • Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron
    • Chemische Fabrik vorm. Weiler Ter Meer

    And later:

    Due to the company's entanglement with the Nazi regime, it was considered by the Allies to be too morally corrupt to be allowed to continue to exist. […] In 1951, the company was split into its original constituent companies. The four largest quickly bought the smaller ones.

    So while Bayer certainly was involved in IG Farben and its crimes, it is far from accurate that it is IG Farben. And in particular it is not correct to claim in that respect that

    They pulled that shit before.

    where “that shit” refers to intentionally getting rid of a name in order to get rid of its negative connotations.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.