On 11 August, Temasek Holdings had pulled out from a S$4.1 billion bid to acquire Keppel Corp. Two days later (13 Aug), Temasek announced a partnership with Leaps by Bayer – a research institution under pharmaceutical giant Bayer – to launch a new company called Unfold.
According to Temasek, Unfold is an agricultural technology company that develops vegetable seeds optimised for vertical farming.
Temasek and the German multinational pharmaceutical giant will have equal ownership of Unfold at the beginning, but this may change over time, according to a spokesperson from Temasek.
“Bayer and Temasek will have equal ownership of Unfold at the start, but this may change over time. Unfold has the flexibility to seek investment from other companies in the future.”
Unfold was launched with a US$30 million (S$41.15 million) initial fund, and an agreement for specific rights to germplasm from the portfolio of Bayer’s vegetables, as reported by The Independent.
As of last Friday (14 Aug), the share price of Bayer closed at 56.96 euros (S$92.50).
Back in April 2018, Temasek had bought 3.6 per cent stake from Bayer for 3 billion euros at 96.77 euros per share. It was reported that the money was used as part of Bayer’s plan to take over Monsanto.
The Monsanto Company was previously an American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, and it was acquired by Bayer as part of its crop science division in 2018.
After Temasek bought into Bayer, a federal jury in San Francisco found out that Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in causing cancer in a Californian man, Edwin Hardeman.
The trial began in March 2019, where the 70-year-old Hardeman testified that he had used the weed killer “for a long period of time” and before he was diagnosed with cancer, the weed killer got onto his skin one time.
Subsequently, with a large amount of lawsuits filed against Monsanto for manufacturing the weed killer, Bayer had released an announcement in June 2020, agreeing to make a total payment of 9.1 billion to 9.8 billion euros (S$14.78 billion to S$15.91 billion) to close approximately 75 per cent of the current litigation.
According to Bayer, this agreement is set to resolve current and address potential future Roundup litigation.
“The main feature is the U.S. Roundup™ resolution that will bring closure to approximately 75% of the current Roundup™ litigation involving approximately 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall.”