As Bayer Monsanto merger closes, a toxic corporate name to be retired

When Bayer said it would pay more than $60 billion to buy Monsanto, it wanted the pesticide producer but seemingly not all the associated baggage that comes with the name. To be clear, the German pharmaceutical firm didn't want its branding to conjure up thoughts of protesters and genetically modified crops. 

With the all-cash deal now set to close on Wednesday, Bayer is confirming what is likely a surprise to no one: "Monsanto will no longer be a company name," it said in a statement. "The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio."

The decision could be viewed as a testament to how anti-Monsanto demonstrations over the years have succeeded in molding the public's view of the company. In its statement, Bayer offered a nod to the hostilities over weed killers such as Monsanto's Roundup and genetically modified crops created by the American company -- and offered an olive branch of sorts. 

"We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," Werner Baumann, chair of Bayer's board of management, said in the statement. "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."

Announced in 2016, Bayer's deal for Monsanto will create the biggest seed and agrochemical company on the planet, regardless of its name.