Messer Talks to Linde-Praxair on Americas Assets
Linde and Praxair are in advanced talks with a consortium comprising Germany’s Messer and funds advised by CVC Capital Partners to sell certain assets in order to allow their multi-billion dollar merger to be cleared by the relevant antitrust regulators.
Media reports had previously cited private equity group Carlyle as the frontrunner to buy the assets but the company is now being sued over the alleged theft of trade secrets to gain an advantage in the sale.
The proposed divestments comprise the majority of Linde’s gases business in North America and certain Linde and Praxair assets in South America.
The news follows Praxair’s announcement on Jul. 5 that it has agreed to sell its European gases operations to Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, for €5 billion.
That sale includes assets in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The businesses together generated sales of around €1.3 billion in 2017.
“With this acquisition, we are seizing a unique opportunity to enter the European market and establish a truly global footprint through the purchase of highly attractive assets in all the key geographies in the European Union,” said Yujiro Ichihara, president and CEO of Taiyo Nippon Sanso.
In both cases, the deals would remain subject to receipt of all regulatory approvals and completion of the proposed merger.
Linde and Praxair are still working to close the transaction in the second half of 2018. The all-share merger would create an industrial gases global leader worth about $70 billion, overtaking main rival France’s Air Liquide.
Last month, regulatory authorities in both Mexico and Brazil gave their approval to the deal, although the latter imposed certain conditions. These included the sale of certain (confidential) assets and an agreement that the merged company does not restrict the supply of calcium carbide gas.