by Swetha Gopinath, Reuters
(Reuters) – Chemical giants DuPont and Dow Chemical Co agreed to merge in an all-stock deal valuing the combined company at $130 billion in a win for activist investors that could spark further consolidation in the farm chemicals industry.
The deal to combine two of the biggest and oldest U.S. chemical producers is a prelude to an eventual split-up of the combined company into three discrete businesses, Dow and DuPont said on Friday.
But it is likely to face intense regulatory scrutiny, given an extensive overlap of their agriculture businesses.
The proposed split would create businesses focused on agriculture, materials and specialty products.
Excluding preferred shares, existing shareholders of Dow and DuPont will each own about 50 percent of the combined company, to be called DowDuPont.
DuPont Chief Executive Ed Breen will be CEO of the new company, and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris will be executive chairman.
Dow Chemical shareholders will get one DowDuPont share for each Dow Chemical share held, while DuPont shareholders will get 1.282 shares in DowDuPont for each DuPont share they own.
The merger, one of the biggest of the year, will allow Dow and DuPont to rejig assets based on the diverging fortunes of their businesses that make agriculture chemicals and plastics.
The companies have been struggling to cope with falling demand for farm chemicals due to falling crop prices and a strong dollar, even as their plastics businesses have thrived thanks to low natural gas prices.
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