Despite a portfolio of hundreds of other products, Bayer is still best known as the company that developed the mother of all pharmaceuticals, Aspirin, over 115 years ago. Almost incredibly, Aspirin remains one of Bayer's top-selling products today, with sales still in excess of $1bn annually. It was until recently part of a vast portfolio of different products ranging from polyurethane to flea control, and from antibiotics to insecticides. However, in recent years the group's massive size proved more of a liability than an asset and Bayer has divested several businesses including chemicals, material sciences, diagnostics and most recently animal health. The acquisition of domestic rival Schering in 2006 strengthened Bayer's drug portfolio, creating a national champion in Germany's pharmaceutical industry (though that position is coming under pressure from country mate Boehringer Ingelheim). Partly in response, Bayer expanded its already substantial consumer healthcare business with the purchase of Merck & Co's OTC division for $14.2bn. Newly appointed CEO Werner Baumann launched a bold takeover bid for US crop sciences rival Monsanto. That deal was finally approved in 2018, 18 months after it was agreed, with a price of $63bn. Yet it has proved potentially disastrous. Almost immediately after completion, a US jury found that Monsanto's Round-up weedkiller caused cancer, leading to a flood of further lawsuits. Further negative judgements could force a separation of Bayer's crop sciences business from its still-strong pharma and OTC divisions. Group revenues for 2018 were €39.6bn but net income plunged to €1.7bn as a result of €5bn in impairment charges and restructuring. Crop msceinces and pharmaceuticals each accounted for around a third of revenues. The group's prescription drug portfolio is led by blockbusters Xarelto for thrombosis (sales of €3.6bn in 2018), supported by macular degeneration treatment Eylea (€2.2bn), contraceptive family Mirena (€1.1bn) and Kogenate/Kovaltry for haemophilia (€855m but just over $1bn in equivalent USD). Incredibly, combined prescription and OTC sales of Aspirin were also still in excess of $1bn (or €975m). Other important products include Adempas for pulmonary hypertension, oncology drugs Nexavar and Xofigo and the YAZ/Yasmin contraceptive family. Other key OTC products include Claritin (€516m), Bepanthen, Aleve, Canesten, Alka-Seltzer and One A Day vitamins.
Capsule checked 23rd October 2019
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Historical profile information for Bayer
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Nov 2019: Another week, another account loss for Wunderman Thompson. Following on from the loss of its biggest Johnson & Johnson US consumer healthcare clients a month ago, the agency also bids farewell to the rather larger contingent of similar brands in the Bayer portfolio, and on a global basis too. Brands including Berocca, Canesten, Redoxon, Rennie and Supradyn are all moving to Mullen Lowe, who will now share responsibility for the full global portfolio with BBDO.
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Aug 2019: Bayer continued to shed assets, finalising terms for the transfer of its animal health unit to former Lilly subsidiary Elanco. Negotiations have been ongoing for more than six months since Bayer first mooted the divestment last year. An independent company since earlier this year, Elanco Animal Health will acquire Bayer's equivalent business for a total value of $7.6bn in cash and stock. The deal is expected to complete mid-2020. Combined sales from the merged company will be around $4.8bn, closing the gap with market-leading Zoetis. Bayer has a sizeable collection of veterinary products for food animals, but is perhaps most widely known for its companion animals products including the flea treatments Advantage/Advocate and Seresto. The deal will significantly enhance Elanco's presence in the latter segment.
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Jul 2019: Bayer made further changes to its OTC portfolio. Following on from the sale of Coppertone, it has also agreed to divest the Dr Scholl footcare brand, which it owns in North America and Latin America only. (Reckitt Benckiser controls the brand elsewhere, where it is marketed as Scholl). The buyer is private equity fund Yellow Wood Partners, which is paying $585m for the business, a little over twice its annual sales last year. Yellow Wood also owns a collection of other beauty brands including Freeman, Real Techniques and Body Benefits.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th May 2019: Beiersdorf is bolstering its portfolio with the acquisition of iconic American sun care brand Coppertone from Bayer. The price tag is $550m, equivalent to a little over twice the brand's annual sales of around $215m. First introduced in 1944, Coppertone was America's first homegrown sun cream. It was acquired by Bayer in 2014 as part of the Merck & Co consumer health portfolio.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th May 2019: Bayer suffered another stinging defeat in its legal battles over weedkiller Roundup. This is the company's third consecutive loss out of three cases which have so far reached a verdict. Only another 13,337 to go. This time, the jury awarded a crushing $2bn penalty in punitive damages, significantly higher than the two previous verdicts of around $80m each. Bayer has filed appeals against all three. The next case will come to trial in August.
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