Air Products hikes bid for Airgas to final $70/share offer

09 December 2010 20:25  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--US-based industrial gases major Air Products on Thursday raised its bid for rival Airgas to $70/share, from $66.50/share, representing its “best and final” offer, it said.

Assuming a $70/share offer price and 84.1m Airgas shares, Air Products offer would be worth $5.89bn (€4.41bn). By contrast, Airgas’ board has valued the company at $78/share, or around $6.6bn.

Airgas' stock traded down 4.9% to $62.74/share in New York at 14.36 local time (19:36 GMT), while Air Products' shares were higher by 1.5% at $88.34/share.

Air Products’ final offer is scheduled to expire on 14 January, but it reserved the right to further amend the expiration date, it said.

Air Products very first offer from February in the long-running takeover battle was $60/share, or around $5.1bn.

In a statement, Air Products’ said the $70/share offer was its “best and final” offer for Airgas and would not be further increased, promising an end to the almost year-long fight between the two US industrial gases firms. 

The latest offer provided a 61% premium to Airgas' closing price on 4 February 2010, the day before Air Products first announced an offer to acquire Airgas, it said.

"It is time to bring this matter to a conclusion, and we are today making our best and final offer for Airgas,” said Air Products CEO John McGlade.

“The Air Products board has determined that it is not in the best interests of Air Products shareholders to pursue this transaction indefinitely, and Airgas shareholders should be aware that Air Products will not pursue this offer to another Airgas shareholder meeting, whenever it may be held," he added.

"We are more than a year into this process, and the majority of the Airgas board has made it clear that they do not intend to negotiate a deal,” he continued.

“Accordingly, if Airgas shareholders want this compelling offer, they must make their voices heard now,” he said, adding that there were no other bidders for Airgas.

Airgas said it would review Air Products' revised offer and advised shareholders to take no further action at this time.

Additional reporting by Al Greenwood in Houston

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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