Diana Marszalek 28 Mar 2019 // 9:16PM GMT
ST LOUIS & MONHEIM, GERMANY — Bayer's crop science division has consolidated its global corporate reputation duties with a team comprising three agencies — FleishmanHillard, Porter Novelli and Global Prairie — following the German drug and chemical company’s troubled $63bn acquisition of Monsanto last year, the Holmes Report can reveal.
“As part of our integration with Monsanto we initiated an RFP for a new global agency partner to support our communications with the public about the work we do,” a Bayer spokesperson said in a statement. “After an extensive review process with a number of outstanding candidates, we selected Partners in Innovation (Pii), a dedicated team made up of members from Porter Novelli, FleishmanHillard, and Global Prairie.”
All three agencies on the Partners In Innovation team (which is a new entity created specifically to handle this assignment) worked with either Bayer or Monsanto before they merged. Porter Novelli and Kansas City-based Global Prairie were among the array of agencies that worked with Bayer; FleishmanHillard partnered with Monsanto, which became defunct after the acquisition.
Bayer, which makes agricultural chemicals as well as drugs, billed the merger with Monsanto as beneficial for farmers, as combining the two mega-companies’ resources would lead to innovation in growing affordable, healthy and sustainable crops.
The deal, however, underwent a two-year anti-trust review amid concerns that the merger would knock competitors out of the market (Bayer ultimately sold off $9b in agricultural assets to BASF to appease regulators). Farmers also opposed the companies’ consolidation, saying they expected it to lead to seed and chemical price increases.
The acquisition of Monsanto, maker of Roundup, this week also caused Bayer legal and financial problems. On Wednesday, Monsanto was ordered to pay $80m to a California man whose cancer was linked to using the popular weedkiller. Bayer stocks sank to a near seven-year low following the verdict, according to Reuters.
Bayer has also formed a partnership with Paradowski Creative to work on its marketing, content creation and digital efforts, the statement said. Last year, Bayer brought in WPP firms Finsbury and Hering Schuppener to provide M&A PR counsel following its bid for the St. Louis-based seed and pesticide company.