The Man Behind the Bear Hug

resized Johannes Dietsch Bayer CFO since Oct 1 2014 source imago Sepp Spiegl 67232067
Johannes Dietsch, Bayer's home-grown CFO.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    After rising through the ranks at Bayer, CFO Johannes Dietsch faces perhaps the greatest challenges of his career in trying to complete the Monsanto takeover – the largest ever acquisition by a German company.

  • Facts


    • Bayer’s accepted cash offer for Monsanto is worth $66 billion, of which the company plans to raise €17 billion, or $19 billion, through a capital increase.
    • The pharmaceutical and chemical giant’s management developed a strategy to acquire Monsanto known in financial circles as a bear hug: an offer that Monsanto could not refuse.
    • Before putting together the deal, Mr. Dietsch and CEO Werner Baumann solicited the support of major institutional investors.
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When Bayer’s leadership was weighing an offer for seed producer Monsanto back in the spring, everyone agreed on one thing: They had to make a strong impression from the start – both with the management and shareholders of the U.S. corporation.

It’s what led Bayer to make a mammoth takeover offer – one that they knew Monsanto wouldn’t be able to refuse. It’s what is known in the field as a bear hug: The trick is to never let your target out of your grasp.

The task of building an irrefusable offer fell to a stocky and easygoing man – Johannes “Hanno” Dietsch, Bayer’s chief financial officer for the last two years.

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