Bayer Group

History of Bayer Group

Bayer recognizes that one of the principal keys to success is research. In this context, we strive to maximize the full potential of innovative technology and to ensure commercial application of our R&D efforts.


Bayer Group

In 1863, the end of the Edo period in Japan, the industrialist Friedrich Bayer and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott established a dyestuffs factory in Barmen Germany, now a part of Wuppertal. From a historical perspective, this factory represents the springboard for the Bayer Group as it is known today.


An example of the dye methods used for silk, wool and cotton. This later became the basis for Bayer's discovery of pharmaceutical compounds.



The creator of Aspirin, Felix Hoffmann and a package circa 1900.


1863 On August 1, businessman Friedrich Bayer and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott establish a dyestuffs factory in Barmen, now part of the city of Wuppertal.
1865 The company founders purchase an interest in a coal tar dye factory in the United States and begin exporting intermediates.
1876 A branch factory is opened in Moscow.
1881 On July 1, the descendants of Bayer and Weskott establish the joint stock company Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co.
1884 The chemist Carl Duisberg starts his career at Bayer. Under his leadership, Bayer chemists make pioneering discoveries.
1888 The company establishes a pharmaceutical department.
1891 The Leverkusen site is purchased.
1897 Bayer scientist Dr. Felix Hoffmann succeeds in synthesizing a chemically pure and stable form of acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient of Aspirin®.
1899 Aspirin® is registered as a trademark and sets out to become the world’s favorite painkiller.
1912 The company’s headquarters are transferred to Leverkusen.
1925 Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. merges with other companies to form I.G. Farbenindustrie AG. Leverkusen becomes the main production center of the I.G.’s Lower Rhine operating consortium. As Germany’s most important chemical company, I.G. Farbenindustrie also becomes involved in events during the Third Reich. After the Second World War, the Allies seize and subsequently break up the I.G. Farben.
1939 Bayer scientist Gerhard Domagk is awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of the antibacterial effects of sulfonamides (Prontosil).
1951 Bayer is re-established as Farbenfabriken Bayer AG (changing its name to Bayer AG in 1972). The push for expansion as an international chemicals and health care group begins.
1973 Ground is broken for the Brunsbuttel production site and six years later, in 1979, for the Agricultural Center (now the corporate headquarters of Bayer CropScience) in Monheim.
1986 Bayer’s entire u.s. activities are consolidated under the management holding company Bayer usa Inc., Pittsburgh.
1991 Bayer’s Communication Center (BayKomm) is inaugurated in Leverkusen.
1994 The first production facility of Bayer Bitterfeld GmbH comes on stream. In the same year, Bayer acquires the North American self-medication business of Sterling Winthrop, at the same time regaining full rights to the Bayer name for all products and the Bayer Cross trademark in the United States and Canada, which had been confiscated after the First World War.
1999 To mark the 100th birthday of Aspirin® on March 6, professional mountaineers wrap Bayer’s former highrise headquarters building in Leverkusen, transforming it into the world’s biggest Aspirin® pack and earning the company three entries in the Guinness Book of Records.
2000 Acquisition of the polyols business of Lyondell Chemical Company, United States, makes Bayer the world’s biggest producer of raw materials for polyurethanes.
2001 Bayer acquires Aventis CropScience for €7.25 billion, making it a world leader in crop protection. On December 6, the company‘s management announces plans to establish independent operating subsidiaries under the umbrella of a management holding company.
2002 On January 24, Bayer shares are listed for the first time on the world’s best-known securities market, the New York Stock Exchange.
2002 Bayer CropScience AG is launched in October as the first legally independent Bayer subgroup.
2003 In February, the World Health Organization (who) includes acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient in Aspirin®, in its "List of essential medicines".
2003 In October, the subgroups Bayer Chemicals AG and Bayer HealthCare AG and the service company Bayer Technology Services GmbH gain legal independence as part of the reorganization of the Bayer Group. The subgroup Bayer MaterialScience AG and the service companies Bayer Business Services GmbH and Bayer Industry Services GmbH & Co. OHG follow in December.
2004 In January the Group’s world-famous trademark, the Bayer Cross, celebrates its centennial.
2004 In June, Bayer becomes the first private-sector partner to the United Nations Environment Programme (unep) in the area of youth and environment. Bayer provides material support and additional funding of €1 million annually to promote various projects over an initial period of three years.
2005 In January, Bayer completes the acquisition of the Roche consumer health business, advancing to become one of the world’s top three suppliers of nonprescription medicines.
2005 Lanxess AG is spun off from the Bayer Group on January 28. This company continues Bayer’s chemicals business and parts of its polymers business.
2005 In December, the u.s. Food and Drug Administration approves sorafenib (tradename: Nexavar®), an active ingredient jointly developed by Bayer HealthCare and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma.
2006 In January, Bayer Innovation GmbH, a subsidiary for the development of new business fields, acquires biotech company Icon Genetics AG, which discovers innovative methods for the development and use of genetically engineered plants.
2006 In March, Bayer announces a public takeover offer for Schering AG, Berlin, Germany. In July, Bayer gains control of 92.4 percent of the approximately 191 million outstanding Schering shares. In December, Schering AG is officially renamed Bayer Schering Pharma AG.
2006 Dow Chemical Company announces its intention to acquire Bayer subsidiary Wolff Walsrode.
2007 In January, an Extraordinary Stockholders’ Meeting of Bayer Schering Pharma AG resolves to effect a "squeeze-out" of the remaining minority stockholders. Bayer Schering Pharma AG, headquartered in Berlin, now operates together with Bayer’s existing Pharmaceuticals business as a division of the Bayer HealthCare subgroup.
2007 In January, Bayer sells the Diagnostics Division of Bayer HealthCare to Siemens AG, Munich, for €4.2 billion.
2007 In February, Bayer completes the sale of its subsidiary H.C. Starck to Advent International and The Carlyle Group.
2007 In March it is announced that the BayArena stadium, home of German Bundesliga soccer team Bayer 04 Leverkusen, is to be modernized and enlarged to accommodate a crowd of over 30,000.
2007 November sees the launch of the integrated, Group-wide Bayer Climate Program. The program's goals include a further reduction in CO2 emissions from Bayer's production facilities.
2008 In June Bayer is presented with the 2008 Environmental Award in the category "Environmentally Friendly Technologies" by the Federation of German Industries (bdi). Use of the new oxygen-depolarized cathode technology reduces power consumption and CO2 emissions.
2008 The squeeze-out of the minority stockholders of Bayer Schering Pharma* AG is effected in September. At the turn of the year 2008/2009 the pharmaceuticals businesses of Bayer and Bayer Schering Pharma* in Germany are combined in a single legal entity
2008 In October the world's largest MDI production facility goes on stream in Shanghai.
2008 In November, Bayer and the German Cancer Research Center form a strategic research alliance scheduled to run for an initial period of two years.
2009 In November, Bayer implements its zeroemissions building concept for the first time with the opening of a children's daycare center in Monheim, Germany.
2009 In November, Bayer CropScience completes the acquisition of Athenix Corp., a privately held u.s. biotechnology company.
2009 In December, a Bayer team wins the German Future Prize for the development of the new anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto®).
2010 In June the Aspirin Social Award is presented for the first time. The award honors exemplary social projects in the health care sector.
2010 Fifty years of successful family planning with the pill: this innovative contraceptive was first given regulatory approval in 1960. Till this day Bayer is a global market leader in the field of hormonal contraception.
2011 In February, Bayer starts up the “Dream Production” pilot plant in Leverkusen to manufacture high-tech plastics using carbon dioxide.
2012 In March, Bayer receives approval from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for Eylea®, an eye medicine for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration.
2013 In 2013, Bayer celebrates the 150th anniversary of its foundation worldwide. The company sends an airship and anniversary exhibition around the world, celebrates with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, serves a celebratory meal for 110,000 employees and carries the Bayer spirit to more than 50 countries through the anniversary song “A Better Life.” more
2014 Bayer strengthens its oncology business with the acquisition of Algeta in March. In October, Bayer acquires the consumer care business of US-based Merck & Co., Inc. and engages in a strategic pharma cooperation in the field of sGC modulators.
2015 Bayer MaterialScience has been operating since 1 September under the name Covestro.
2016 In May Werner Baumann becomes the new CEO of Bayer AG. Baumann has been a member of the Board of Management since January 2010 and was most recently responsible for Strategy and Portfolio Management.
In September Bayer and Monsanto sign a binding merger agreement. This creates the legal framework for the acquisition of Monsanto for a cash price of USD 128 per share. Monsanto stockholders vote in favor of the merger at an extraordinary stockholders’ meeting in December. The transaction is subject to the customary closing conditions, including the required regulatory approvals.
2017 In November Bayer kicked off "leaps". This new approach complements the existing R&D capabilities and aims to enable breakthrough innovations across healthcare and agriculture.
2018 Bayer concludes process to sell Covestro. Bayer AG now holds just 6.8 percent of Covestro shares to repay the exchangeable bond that matures in 2020. Bayer AG acquired these shares from Bayer Pension Trust, which now no longer holds any Covestro shares.

Bayer closes Monsanto acquisition. Shares in the U.S. company will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with Bayer now the sole owner of Monsanto Company.