Dustin Guzior, Rick Pepperman and former partner Steve Holley have been recognized by The American Lawyer as “Litigators of the Week” for their International Chamber of Commerce arbitration defense victory for Bayer AG in a high-stakes M&A dispute with BASF. Following a two-week, in-person hearing in Frankfurt involving 16 fact witnesses and four experts in November 2021, the tribunal issued a ruling on August 11 that gave Bayer an across-the-board win. The tribunal dismissed a three-year arbitration brought by BASF SE claiming that it overpaid for assets that it bought from Bayer in 2018. Dow Jones reported that $1.75 billion plus interest was at stake.
During proceedings in Frankfurt, the team showed that Bayer had provided adequate information to BASF on the cost structure of those assets. The dispute involved its sale to BASF of seed and herbicide assets for €5.9 billion and its global vegetable seeds business, certain seed treatments and digital farming activities for up to €1.7 billion. Bayer divested these assets and businesses to secure merger clearance for its acquisition of Monsanto.
In an interview with The American Lawyer, Rick and Dustin also credited the efforts of Bayer’s in-house counsel, Thomas Reuter and Max Thümmel, who were part of the day-to-day team and helped push this matter to a successful conclusion. They also credited S&C special counsel Akash Toprani and Bill Wagener and associates Colin Hill, David Blackman, and Michael Lemanki.