Monsanto Calls Bayer's $62 Billion Takeover Offer 'Financially Inadequate'

Monsanto chief executive Hugh Grant says he likes the idea of a merger — in theory. He's shown here at an appearance in New York last September.

Monsanto chief executive Hugh Grant says he likes the idea of a merger — in theory. He’s shown here at an appearance in New York last September. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

toggle caption Mark Lennihan/AP

Monsanto has rejected a $62 billion takeover bid from Bayer as “incomplete and financially inadequate,” but left the door open to further negotiations with the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant.

“We believe in the substantial benefits an integrated strategy could provide to growers and broader society, and we have long respected Bayer’s business,” Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant said in a statement.

“However, the current proposal significantly undervalues our company and also does not adequately address or provide reassurance for some of the potential financing and regulatory execution risks related to the acquisition.”

The statement appears to signal that St. Louis-based Monsanto is open to further talks with Bayer but, as was widely expected, wants more money and better terms before it accepts a deal.

The seed company also left the ball in Bayer’s court, saying it wouldn’t make any further statements. In the meantime, it said, no guarantee exists that a deal will be reached.

Monsanto’s decision to hold out for more money means Bayer will be forced to sweeten its terms, which likely won’t sit well with investors. Many are already said to be worried about the impact of a deal on Bayer’s bottom line, and shares of the company fell Monday after details of the offer were announced.

A merger between the companies would create the world’s largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals. Monsanto is also a leader in the field of genetically modified seeds.

But a slowdown in commodity prices and a drop in farm income have hurt the company, Bloomberg reported:

“Despite its preeminence in seeds, Monsanto has become vulnerable to a takeover as a number of problems piled up this year. The company has cut its earnings forecast, clashed with some of the world’s largest commodity-trading companies and become locked in disputes with the governments of Argentina and India.”

Bayer had no immediate comment about Monsanto’s rejection of the bid.

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Irked By The Way Millennials Speak? 'I Feel Like' It's Time To Loosen Up

Trending phrases are caught in generational misunderstanding.

Roy Scott/Getty Images/Ikon Images

“The way kids speak today, I’m here to tell you.” Over the course of history, every aging generation has made that complaint, and it has always turned out to be overblown. That’s just as well. If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we’d all be grunting like bears by now.

But when it comes to language, history is bunk. Or anyway, it hasn’t deterred critics from monitoring the speech of today’s young people for the signs of cultural decline.

In fact it was a professor of history named Molly Worthen who raised an alarm in The New York Times recently about the way millennials start their sentences with “I feel like,” as in, “I feel like the media should concentrate more on the issues.”

That expression may sound merely diffident, Worthen says, but its real purpose is to avoid confrontation by turning every statement into a feeling that halts an argument in its tracks — how can you say that my experience isn’t valid? In the end, she says, “I feel like” makes logical discussion impossible and undermines the conduct of public life.

That’s an awful lot to heap on the meaning of a little colloquialism, particularly when it actually doesn’t mean that at all. “I feel like” is just a recent addition to the fluid list of qualifiers we use to hedge our statements so we don’t go around sounding like dogmatic jerks — phrases like “I think,” “I suppose” and “I guess.” When we use verbs that way, their literal meanings are diluted. “I suspect he’s already left” isn’t like, “I suspect he’s been stealing from me.” “I guess I’ll have the steak” — that’s not a real guess, it’s just how you announce that you’ve come to a decision.

And however it strikes you at first, “I feel like” isn’t just about feelings, it’s a way of introducing an opinion. I was talking with my students about online advertising the other day, and one of them said, “I feel like you shouldn’t have to see ads with paid content.” He wasn’t saying “that’s my personal experience and I defy you contradict it.” He was just stating his view, and he was open to debating the point.

If you go on Twitter and look at how people actually use the phrase, it usually means pretty much the same as “to my mind” or “if you ask me” — “I feel like the Apple watch should include a dock charger”; “I feel like the Giants have to fix the bottom of their rotation.”

You have to be doggedly obtuse to hear those uses of “feel” as mere effusions of feeling, much less to take them as evidence that millennials have all bailed on the sturdy rationalism of the Gen-Xers and Boomers and given themselves over to rampant subjectivity. Young people are perfectly capable of articulating logical opinions, whether about baseball or the political process — they just introduce them differently.

But then these lamentations are always obtuse. The complaints about “I feel like” are no more off-the-wall than the complaints people make about texting abbreviations, vocal fry and the other features that make the language of the young sound weird to older ears. Critics always want to make the next generation seem more alien than it actually is, like anthropologists reporting back from a field trip to Youngster Island.

In fact, the point of these jeremiads isn’t to understand the language or manners of the younger generation. It’s to assuage the narcissistic injuries of the generations that are being pushed aside.

Linguistically speaking, the hippies were right about people over 30. That’s when our ear for language begins to fail us. It gets harder to learn new languages or memorize poetry; we forget more old words than we learn new ones. And we’re apt to misunderstand what young people are trying to say. We register the words and tones but we can’t imagine our way into their meanings. All we can do is project, coloring their words with our associations.

That response is automatic, almost neuronal. It doesn’t help if we know better. We hear young people use the rising intonation called uptalk and we invest it with the uncertainty that that intonation signals in our speech. Or anyway, I do, even though I’m aware it doesn’t mean that to them.

We hear “I feel like” and we flash on psychotherapy and encounter groups and blame it on polarization or postmodern relativism, things that matter more to us than they do at the high-school lunch tables where these expressions get their start in life. Projection again.

It’s a natural reaction blame our difficulties on them. If they really cared about communicating with us, they’d use words the same way we do.

It’s unsettling to hear the language changing. You feel like things are slipping away from you, like the conversation is moving elsewhere — which of course it absolutely is. You feel a sense of displacement and cultural dispossession; you wish you could somehow roll things back to where they were. The only thing missing is a cap that says “Make the English language great again.”

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Marc Maron On Sobriety And Managing His 'Uncomfortable' Comfort Zone

In the fourth season of the IFC show Maron, Marc Maron's character becomes addicted to opioids and loses his house, cats and podcast.

In the fourth season of the IFC show Maron, Marc Maron’s character becomes addicted to opioids and loses his house, cats and podcast. Tyler Golden/IFC hide caption

toggle caption Tyler Golden/IFC

Things are going well for Marc Maron. He has a new comedy special; he has interviewed both President Obama and Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels on his podcast, WTF; and his IFC show, Maron, is in its fourth season.

But on his TV show, the fictional version of Maron is hitting rock bottom. After 16 years of sobriety, Maron’s character relapses this season and ends up living in a storage unit.

The comic has had his own struggles with addiction, and he tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that acting out his own fictional relapse was both challenging and terrifying. Relapse “is a very real problem and a very real fear of mine,” he explains. “I’m glad it happened in fiction and not in real life.”

Maron says that while he is grateful for his personal and professional successes, much of his onstage persona is built on anxiety, self-hatred and anger. “My comfort zone is uncomfortable, and it has been my entire life,” he says. “Being sort of anxious and uncomfortable has really been my home base, innately. And I don’t know how to change that, and that’s really the challenge for me now.”


Interview Highlights

On how his experience compares to that of his character, who becomes addicted to opioids and loses his house, cats and podcast

At the time that I was having drug problems, I did not have that much to lose. I was a little more managing of the issues than the character in the show, and I was a younger man. So, I did not get as far down as this character did. …

Being in recovery you do see people relapse with long-term sobriety, and it’s horrifying. So what I did with this was I just really played it as straight as I could. … There’s a certain denial that comes over you when you are in a relationship with drugs where you justify that things really aren’t as bad as they appear. [My character is] living in a storage unit and somehow the way I played it was, because of the drugs, there was part of me that had to think that I was still keeping it together. I think that’s a very real thing that happens when you get that strung out.

On his own experience getting sober

I was sort of in and out for years. It took me like 24, 25 years to get the 16 [years of sobriety] in a row that I have, because that never really locked in.

The last bottom I guess I hit, the real one, was I was in an awkward marriage. I was using cocaine and drinking behind my wife’s back, and I would go on the road and it was getting ugly and I really just was lying in bed next to a sleeping woman with my heart pounding, just really wanting to die. … I had surrendered to the idea that I was not going to be a big comic, I was not going to have a TV career. I was doing segments for a regional show in New York on something called the Metro Channel, and I really had resigned myself to failure and to hopelessness.

That was … ’98, ’99 — I’m coming up on 17 years. I met somebody — a woman who just happened to be beautiful and stunning and sober and a fan — who kind of reached out and said, “I can get you to meetings. I can get you help.” I don’t know if I really wanted to get sober, but I wanted to be with her. So it worked out, kind of.

On deciding to portray a 12-step program on the show

It took a long time for me even to sort of engage with the structure of the program. It’s a little dicey dealing with the program publicly because there is part of the traditions of the program that say that you shouldn’t deal with it publicly. But it was my belief that if it was handled with some subtlety and with some respect, that it would not be demeaning to the program and it would actually raise awareness. …

However anyone takes this in — how I captured rehab and that experience — I’ve already gotten a lot of emails from people who are either in the program or need the program that really kind of responded in a positive way to it. … I am no spokesman for the program, and I’m only affiliated in that it helped me get sober and continues to.

On 12-step program adages

The adages and the little sayings — the repetition of them — I think we exaggerated a bit, but it’s certainly a reality and I do think that some of them, they help you. …

The classic one is “one day at a time.” As trite as it may seem, it’s a very powerful idea if you tend to be filled with panic and dread and you’re projecting a future that is horrible or you don’t understand how you’re going to stay sober in a week or two weeks or a year or anything else, to really somehow pound it into your head that all you have is today. And that “one day at a time” business is a very sound philosophical and practical way to look at life because it keeps you in the present.

On talking about his relationships less in his comedy

I’ve definitely recalibrated in terms of respecting other people’s boundaries. … I used to do it onstage and certainly on the podcast … And then what happened … was that they weren’t part of the dialogue. They would hear it — it would go out to half a million people — and then someone would come up to them and say, “I heard you guys are having a hard time,” or “I heard about that problem.” And they were like, “What are you doing?”

It was made very clear to me by my last long-term girlfriend that when that happens they don’t have a voice. There’s no other side to it. Unless I was going to put her on the air or make the show different — not something that she wanted to do — I had to really take that in and process the lack of respect in the one-sidedness of that dialogue. So I became very careful about it.

On reconciling his current success with his anxious, self-hating onstage persona

I don’t really know how to handle being OK. You spend a lifetime struggling to get someplace and then you find your little place and things are going well. The work you’re doing is relevant; you’re making an honest buck; you’re saving a little money. A lot of the things that were so out of reach are now happening and you feel a little more confident and a little more self-assured. …

This is a very immediate problem. … I got to write new comedy and I feel myself doing things instinctively to make myself uncomfortable. Like, I’m overeating, I’m judging myself harshly — it’s almost like I have to write this new comedy so I’m figuring out how do I get myself into some chaos and into some self-hatred. But I’m not consciously doing that, it’s just happening; and I’m watching the pattern and I’m fighting it.

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New Mix: The Monkees, Esmé Patterson, Adia Victoria, Matt The Electrician, More

Top row: The Monkees; Bottom row, left to right: Esmé Patterson, Matt The Electrician, Adia Victoria

Top row: The Monkees; Bottom row, left to right: Esmé Patterson, Matt The Electrician, Adia Victoria Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

On this week’s episode we’ve got one of the sunniest bands of all time, mesmerizing music from the Sahara and an elegy to growing old.

Co-host Robin Hilton gets things started with a sweetly sad song from Matt The Electrician, a pop-folk singer based in Austin who no longer has anything to do with his own hands, while host Bob Boilen follows with Esmé Patterson, a singer with roots in folk music and a new album that stretches into the world of gritty rock.

Also on the show: The Monkees celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary with a new album that includes the bubbly pop song “You Bring The Summer;” singer Adia Victoria sings sultry blues with a distinctive voice and the Algerian band Imarhan has an incredible debut album of Tuareg music.

But before we get to any music, Bob explains how he ended up flat on his back on a train platform.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for The Party/I Don't Have Anything To Do With My Hands
02I Don’t Have Anything To Do With My Hands

2:58
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Matt The Electrician

  • Song: I Don’t Have Anything To Do With My Hands
  • from The Party/I Don’t Have Anything To Do With My Hands

Matt The Electrician is known off stage as Matt Sever, a singer-songwriter based in Austin, Texas who actually was an electrician before turning to music full time. He recorded this song with Dana Falconberry, a singer we know best for making whimsical tunes with sweet harmonies.

Cover for We Were Wild
01Feel Right

3:02
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Esmé Patterson

  • Song: Feel Right
  • from We Were Wild

We first discovered Esmé Patterson in 2015, singing on the Shakey Graves song “Dearly Departed.” Now she’s back with a new solo album that finds her stretching from her folk roots toward gritty rock.

Cover for Good Times!
02You Bring The Summer

3:00
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The Monkees

  • Song: You Bring The Summer
  • from Good Times!

The three surviving original members of The Monkees celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary this year with a new album of sunny and reflective pop songs, including tracks penned by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie, Noel Gallagher of Oasis and Paul Weller. This song, “You Bring The Summer,” was written by Andy Partridge of the band XTC.

Cover for Beyond the Bloodhounds
04Mortimer’s Blues

4:18
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/479313089/479315368" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Adia Victoria

  • Song: Mortimer’s Blues
  • from Beyond the Bloodhounds

Adia Victoria is a Nashville-based singer with a sultry, slithering voice. Her debut full-length, Beyond The Bloodhounds, is a dark and bluesy record. Keep an eye out for her Tiny Desk performance, coming soon.

Cover for Imarhan
01Assossamagh

3:46
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/479313089/479315578" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Imarhan

  • Song: Assossamagh

Imarhan is a group of musicians from Algeria making Tuareg music, a rhythmic, trance-inducing form popular in the Sahara Desert region. The group’s self-titled debut album is perfect for every time and occasion — from early morning hours to late nights, alone in meditation or dancing with others. Imarhan roughly translates to “those who wish you well.”

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Judge Says Sexual Assault Case Against Bill Cosby Can Go To Trial

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004.

Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday in Norristown, Pa. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004. Dominick Reuter/AP hide caption

toggle caption Dominick Reuter/AP

A judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a sexual assault case against comedian Bill Cosby to move to trial.

The arraignment is set for July, Bobby Allyn of member station WHYY reports.

At the July arraignment, Cosby will not have to appear. Judge says “goodluck to you, sir.” He replies: “Thank you.”

— Bobby Allyn (@BobbyAllyn) May 24, 2016

Cosby, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, has been charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Andrea Constand alleges that Cosby assaulted her in his home in 2004; a statement she gave in 2005 was read during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing. Constand did not appear in person.

The statement “said that Constand felt dizzy, had blurred vision and thought of calling 911 after Cosby allegedly gave her pills she thought were herbal medicine,” Allyn reports. Cosby says the pills were Benadryl and the sexual contact was consensual.

“Since his arrest in December, Cosby’s defense attorneys have been attempting to have the charges tossed before the case moves to trial,” Allyn says.

Constand tried to prosecute in 2005, but the district attorney at the time said there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case, as USA Today reports. The parties settled in 2006. New evidence, including a deposition given by Cosby, were enough to move the case forward in Pennsylvania this year.

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When Is 2:00 Actually 2:15? Punctuality Around The World

People from different cultures may see deadlines differently. (Guy Sie/Flickr)

People from different cultures may see deadlines differently. (Guy Sie/Flickr)

Have you ever shown up for a 10 o’clock meeting at 10 o’clock and found that no one else showed up until 10:15 or 10:30? It may be that you’re working with people from a culture where deadlines are seen differently. In some cultures, meeting a deadline may be seen as less important than nurturing a relationship or encouraging creativity.

Harvard Business Review editor Curt Nickisch has some tips for Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson on how to manage deadlines when working across cultures.

Read a recent article on Harvard Business Review, “Different Cultures See Deadlines Differently” by Bhaskar Pant.

Guest

  • Curt Nickisch, senior editor at Harvard Business Review. He tweets .

Related:

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Journalists Train For Hostile Conflict In U.S. And Abroad

IMG_1684

Journalists are shown how to disarm potentially lethal encounters at checkpoints. (Armando Trull, WAMU)

Reporters can now get training on how to avoid dangerous situations, and what to do if they are in one. And it’s not only foreign assignments that can be hazardous; protests and political gatherings in the U.S. have turned violent. Armando Trull of WAMU has the story.

This story includes audio from UPI Radio’s 1994 Year in Review.

What’s it like to report from a conflict zone? @trulldc shows us a simulated exercise for journalists in training.https://t.co/UBbnY1qZG4

— WAMU 88.5 News (@wamu885news) May 4, 2016

Car accidents are one of the most common dangers in hostile news reporting and journalists are taught what to do especially when injuries happen. (Armando Trull/WAMU)

Car accidents are one of the most common dangers in hostile news reporting and journalists are taught what to do especially when injuries happen. (Armando Trull/ WAMU)

Car accidents are one of the most common dangers in hostile news reporting and journalists are taught what to do especially when injuries happen. (Armando Trull/WAMU)

Journalists are shown how to disarm potentially lethal encounters at checkpoints. (Armando Trull, WAMU)

Journalists are shown how to disarm potentially lethal encounters at checkpoints. (Armando Trull/WAMU)

Reporter

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Greece Authorities Begin Moving Migrants From A Border Camp

A woman watches over her daughters as they go up a ladder into a cargo train at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni on April 27, 2016. Some 54,000 people, many of them fleeing the war in Syria, have been stranded on Greek territory since the closure of the migrant route through the Balkans in February. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman watches over her daughters as they go up a ladder into a cargo train at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni on April 27, 2016. Some 54,000 people, many of them fleeing the war in Syria, have been stranded on Greek territory since the closure of the migrant route through the Balkans in February. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Greek authorities have started evacuating some 8,000 migrants from the makeshift Idomeni camp on the Macedonian border. Migrants have been stranded there since March, when the border with Macedonia was closed, preventing the migrants from heading north toward Germany and Sweden. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with NPR Athens correspondent Joanna Kakissis about the latest in the refugee crisis.

Guest

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Under Armour, UCLA Reach A Record $280 Million Apparel Deal

UCLA safety Rahim Moore, center, celebrates an interception against Temple with teammates Sheldon Price, left, and Glenn Love during the third quarter of the EagleBank Bowl in 2009.

UCLA safety Rahim Moore, center, celebrates an interception against Temple with teammates Sheldon Price, left, and Glenn Love during the third quarter of the EagleBank Bowl in 2009. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

toggle caption Evan Vucci/AP

The athletics company Under Armour has reached a record $280 million apparel deal with the University of California, Los Angeles, according the company.

The Los Angeles Times reports that is the largest deal in college football history and it follows other blockbuster agreements struck recently by Nike with Ohio State and the University of Texas.

The Times adds:

“UCLA entered the picture with its Adidas contract set to expire next year.

“‘We knew that we were well-positioned to cut a deal,’ said Dan Guerrero, the UCLA athletic director. ‘Under Armour came at us hard.’

“The upstart Baltimore company was looking to add a major West Coast program to a stable that includes Notre Dame, Auburn and Wisconsin.

“‘This deal was about geography,’ said Kevin Plank, who founded Under Armour in 1996. ‘It was important for us to plant our flag in L.A.'”

ESPN has a bit more on previous deals:

“In January, Ohio State said its 15-year deal with Nike was worth $252 million. Texas signed a 15-year deal with Nike worth $250 million in October, and Michigan signed an 11-year deal, with a four-year option, that could be worth up to $173.8 million.

“Of all those schools, UCLA has gone the longest having not won a title in either college football or men’s basketball, last winning the men’s basketball tournament in 1995. UCLA has, however, won more championships than any other school, thanks in part to its excellence in softball, volleyball and water polo.”

Of course, as SB Nation reports, the big question in all of this is what the Bruins uniform will look like when the deal kicks in next summer. If you remember, Maryland’s Under Armour uniforms have made news for their looks.

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Google's Paris Offices Raided In Tax Investigation

A carpet at the entrance of Google's offices in Paris.

A carpet at the entrance of Google’s offices in Paris. Jacques Brinon/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jacques Brinon/AP

French authorities launched a surprise search of Google’s offices in Paris early this morning as part of an inquiry into the tech company’s tax dealings in France.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the raid, which also involved 25 computer experts, is part of an investigation launched in June 2015 into possible tax evasion and money laundering.

“The investigation is aimed at finding out whether Google Ireland Ltd. is permanently established in France and if, by not declaring some of its activity on French soil, it has failed to meet its fiscal obligations, in particular with regard to corporation tax and value added tax,” the statement read, as translated by The Telegraph.

Google’s regional headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, where tax rates are lower than in France and other European countries.

As The Guardian reports:

“Google maintains that its large offices in Paris, London and other European capitals are not fully fledged businesses, but operate as mere satellites of its international headquarters in Dublin, providing back office services like marketing.

“Google routes most of its non-US revenue from activities such as advertising through Dublin, where the 12.5% corporation tax rate is low by European standards. The structure allows the company to avoid both European and US taxes on the income.”

Reuters says the company’s practice of routing those profits first through Ireland and then on to Bermuda to avoid taxes has drawn criticism.

The French government is seeking €1.6 billion in back taxes from Google, The Guardian reported in February, citing an unnamed source at the French Finance Ministry. In January, Google agreed to pay £130 million in back taxes to the U.K. government.

“We are cooperating with the authorities to answer their questions. We comply fully with French law,” Google Europe spokesman Al Verney told Reuters via email.

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