AkzoNobel-PPG Merger Still Up in the Air

March 24th, 2017 by Editor

The world’s two largest coatings companies, which both produce products for the architectural glazing and metal panels markets, are at odds about whether they should join forces.

AkzoNobel has rejected a second proposal from PPG to acquire the Europe-based business, this time for $26.3 billion.

Among other products, AkzoNobel supplies fluoropolymer coatings used in architectural applications such as curtainwall and other glazing system components. While PPG exited the glass industry upon selling its glass business to Vitro last year, the company does supply coatings for building products in its industrial segment.

“A combination of PPG and AkzoNobel would result in enhanced financial growth prospects for the combined company in the coming years, which will also accrue to the benefit of all stakeholders of the combined business,” PPG CEO Michael McGarry said in a statement Wednesday. “… We are respectful of the questions and concerns that have been raised and look forward to addressing these in a collaborative manner.”

According to an announcement from PPG, AkzoNobel’s boards have not accepted multiple invitations from PPG to discuss its proposals and negotiate a recommended transaction. However, AkzoNobel came out with a statement of its own Wednesday, noting that the offer does not address concerns expressed by AkzoNobel’s boards in their initial rejection of a March, 9 pitch.

“This proposal significantly fails to recognize the value of AkzoNobel,” the company’s CEO, Ton Büchner, said. “… We are convinced that AkzoNobel is best placed to unlock the value within our company ourselves. We are executing our plan, including the creation of two focused businesses and new cost structure, and believe this gives us a strong platform for continued profitability and long term value creation for all our stakeholders with substantially less execution risks.”

PPG appears to remain persistent, stating in its announcement that the combination of companies would “create a stronger competitor in a highly competitive global marketplace.” It adds this would “enhance the breadth and speed of research, development and delivery of new products with extensive geographic scope and technological reach” and “optimize our combined operational capabilities and footprint with world-class people and facilities.”

According to the Financial Times, at least three large AkzoNobel shareholders have urged the company to enter into talks with PPG after it rejected the revised takeover attempt. The publication reports:

“Activist investor Elliott Advisors, a top five shareholder with more than 3 percent of the stock, said that while the offer price was inadequate, it provided a ‘credible basis for engagement.’ The hedge fund urged AkzoNobel’s management ‘to engage with PPG immediately’ to determine whether the US group was prepared to bid higher and address all relevant stakeholder considerations. Two other top-20 shareholders echoed Elliott’s position, suggesting that AkzoNobel’s chief executive, Ton Büchner, faces rising investor dissent as he attempts to see off a hostile buyout of one of Europe’s oldest industrial companies.”

Meanwhile, the Standard Examiner reports that “a combination of the world’s two largest coatings companies would attract intense antitrust scrutiny in Europe and the U.S.”

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