Bayer 'Confident' It Can Still Strike Deal with Monsanto, Merger Could Spell Disaster for Farmers and Global Food Supply
Two days after Monsanto rejected Bayer AG's takeover attempt because $62 billion wasn't enough money, the German drug and crop chemical giant says it's confident it can still strike a deal.
The historic, all-cash deal would have formed the largest seed and pesticide company in the world, but Monsanto's board unanimously spurned Bayer's unsolicited bid for being incomplete and financially inadequate.
“We believe in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society, and we have long respected Bayer’s business,” Hugh Grant, Monsanto chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “However, the current proposal significantly undervalues our company and also does not adequately address or provide reassurance for some of the potential financing and regulatory execution risks related to the acquisition.”
Despite the snub, Bayer is looking forward to further talks with Monsanto, Bloomberg reported.
Bayer says it's confident it can meet Monsanto's demands after $62 billion bid is rejected https://t.co/LqcDr60xgz https://t.co/HjaF8zFtju— Bloomberg (@Bloomberg)1464178213.0
“We are pleased that Monsanto’s board shares our belief in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society,” Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said in a statement. “We are confident that we can address any potential financing or regulatory matters related to the transaction. Bayer remains committed to working together to complete this mutually compelling transaction.”
The St. Louis-based company also added that it is "open to continued and constructive conversations" with the aspirin maker on whether a transaction in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be achieved.
This means that the already eye-popping $62 billion sum could blossom even higher since both parties are open to further negotiations. As Bloomberg noted, "the conciliatory tone from both sides sets the stage for an improved offer from Bayer," and further pointed out:
While Monsanto has consistently traded at less than the $122-a-share offer price since the companies started discussing a deal, the stock rallied Tuesday, gaining 2.7 percent to $122.21 at 9:38 a.m. in New York.
Bayer’s comments were "very positive,” Brett Wong, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. in Minneapolis, said in an interview. Bayer can afford to pay as much as $140 a share and still add to double-digit growth in earnings in the mid-term, Jeffrey Holford, an analyst at Jefferies LLC, said in a note.
But Bayer reiterated in its press release that its $122 per share all-cash proposal "provides full and certain value for Monsanto shareholders."
Monsanto, the world's largest producer of genetically modified (GMO) crops and maker of the herbicide Roundup, has faced mounting controversy in recent years, from global disputes to numerous lawsuits over its cancer-linked flagship product. Sales have been slumping and thousands of jobs have been cut.
MarketWatch reported that the Monsanto’s poor image did factor into consideration of the deal, Baumann acknowledged in a media call on Monday.
Monsanto rejects Bayer’s $62 billion takeover bid as "too low." Recently, the seed giant faced global protests: https://t.co/ZmORQ9qP0e— AJ+ (@AJ+)1464159573.0
Almost everything you eat could be controlled by a single mega-corporation, if Bayer gets its way and buys Monsanto.
Once the deal goes ahead it could spell disaster for our food supply and farmers, ushering in a new era of sterile crops soaked in dangerous pesticides. If the deal is successful, it'll make the new corporation the biggest seed maker and pesticide company in the world—and it will have almost total control of the most important aspects of our food supply.
The pharmaceutical giant itself has been subject to criticism over its widely used insecticide, imidacloprid, which belongs to a controversial class of chemicals called neonicotinoids, and is linked to deaths of bees.
"At the center of Bayer and Monsanto's corporate agribusiness model is the indiscriminate, widespread use of pesticides linked to the massive global bee die-off," the petition reads. "Monsanto rejected the first offer from Bayer, but the negotiations are far from over. Once a merger like this goes through, Bayer and Monsanto will be even harder to stop—we need to act now to block the creation of this massive corporate bee-killer."
Experts also warned that the possible merger of Bayer and Monsanto—which would claim 30 percent of the global crop-inputs business if successfully executed—could significantly and negatively impact farmers and food production. Monsanto controls 80 percent of the U.S. corn market and 93 percent of the U.S. soy market.
“The consolidation and driving out of smaller competitors, and controlling the marketplace and raising prices of seeds and pesticides for farmers worldwide is going to be a real shock to the food system,” Robert Lawrence, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor and the founding director of the Center for a Livable Future, told MarketWatch.
“I don’t know if that will in the end give farmers more choice in the seeds and traits in those seeds or less choice," Greg Jaffe, biotechnology project director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the publication. “It might allow Bayer to put more of Monsanto’s seeds in their variety … or they might choose to produce less varieties.”
Bayer, which is also involved in the GMO-seed market, responded in a statement that it has a role in feeding the growing global population.
“GMO is all about science—and it is a relevant tool in the toolbox to fight hunger in the world,” the company said.
CBS's MoneyWatch noted that antitrust issues could kill a potential merger. "Given the market power of the businesses, the transaction will face significant regulatory scrutiny. How that will play out is hard to predict, but one fact that could help the deal is that Bayer and Monsanto don't overlap much either geographically or in its agrochemical businesses," the report stated.
Patty Lovera, the assistant director of the nonprofit Food & Water Watch, told MarketWatch that the Justice Department should examine the deal.
“Anytime companies, already giant companies, merge, they get more market share. There’s political power that comes with that economic power,” she added. “The players already in that room are going to get bigger.”
Organic Consumers Association's Ronnie Cummins and Martha Rosenberg shared this perspective in a blog post: "While a Bayer-Monsanto deal (like a DuPont-Dow deal or ChemChina-Syngenta deal) certainly threatens the world food supply with domination by GMOs and destructive agrochemicals, there may be an underreported bright side: Industries that are doing well generally spin off; industries that are performing poorly generally merge and consolidate."
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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