FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Shares in seeds and pesticides maker Bayer (BAYGn.DE) opened 2.3% higher on Friday, driven by a report on a possible out-of-court settlement of a U.S. jury trial over allegations that its weed killer Roundup causes cancer.
Bloomberg here said late on Thursday that lawyers for some plaintiffs were discussing deals that could lead to a total payout of about $10 billion.
Bayer said in October it was facing 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs seeking damages, more than twice the tally in July and potentially raising any future settlement.
Bayer, also the owner of Yasmin birth control and Claritin allergy relief brands, is widely expected to eventually buy itself out of the litigation, with analysts estimating the size of a future settlement at $8-$12 billion.
Traders said the market likes the idea of Bayer settling the litigation. “It would get rid of the problem in one go,” one said, adding that a number of questions were still unanswered.
A Bayer spokesman said the mediation process under court-assigned mediator Ken Feinberg was continuing diligently and in good faith.
“There is also no certainty or timetable for a comprehensive resolution,” he added.
In a sign that some plaintiff attorneys are keeping up the pressure on Bayer, a fourth U.S. jury trial is scheduled to begin on Friday.
Reporting by Vera Eckert, Christina Amann and Ludwig Burger, editing by Michelle Martin