June 4 (UPI) -- The $66 billion merger of Monsanto and Bayer means the abandonment of the Monsanto name, Bayer said in a statement Monday.
Effective Thursday, "Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio," Bayer said.
The German company, known for health and agriculture products, will become the sole shareholder of St. Louis-based Monsanto, a company whose strengths in seeds and pesticides have made it a lightning rod for critics who blame its products for environmental degradation. The merger was announced in 2016, and won conditional approval from U.S. and European Union regulators in May after the merged company agreed to divest itself of $9 billion in businesses to maintain competition.
Bayer CEO Walter Baumann indicated he is aware the new company, now with 115,000 employees globally, has an image issue.
"We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," Baumann said. "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."