Berlin — Bayer on Tuesday hired law firm Sidley Austin to investigate a Europe-wide data collection scheme run by its Monsanto unit, which targeted journalists, politicians and other stakeholders to influence the debate on pesticides. Last week, Bayer admitted that Monsanto, which it acquired for $63bn in 2018, had gathered nonpublic information as part of the campaign, which French media said sought to influence the public debate on pesticides and genetically modified products. Bayer faces potentially heavy litigation costs from US lawsuits in which plaintiffs claim that its Roundup weedkiller, which contains glyphosate, causes cancer. Bayer disputes this. In a Q&A document posted on its website on Tuesday, Bayer said US public relations and marketing agency FleishmanHillard, on behalf of Monsanto, had mapped stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK as well as stakeholders related to EU institutions. Sidley Austin will investigate how many s...

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