<img title="Bayer hires law firm to investigate Monsanto stakeholder file issue " alt="Bayer hires law firm to investigate Monsanto stakeholder file issue " src="https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20190512&t=2&i=1386328311&r=LYNXNPEF4B0AN&w=450" aria-label="FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of German Pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer AG, attends the annual general shareholders meeting in Bonn, Germany, April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo”>

FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of German Pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer AG, attends the annual general shareholders meeting in Bonn, Germany, April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer said on Sunday it was hiring an outside law firm to investigate French media complaints that Monsanto, the U.S. seed maker it took over last year, had compiled a file of influential personalities.

The German life sciences and pharmaceuticals group said that, following an internal review, it understood that this initiative had raised concerns and criticism.

“This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders. We apologize for this behavior,” Bayer said in a statement. It added, however, that there was no indication that compiling the lists was illegal.

Reporting by Patricia Weiss and Ludwig Burger; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Keith Weir

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