PPG Industries ups bid for Akzo Nobel to $28.8B

REUTERS  Robin van Lonkhuijsen  United

In a statement, Akzo said it has concluded that the request to remove Mr Burgmans does not meet those standards.

US Fortune 500 paints and coatings major PPG Industries Inc yesterday raised its buyout offer for its Dutch rival Akzo Nobel to €26.9 billion ($28.8 billion), threatening to take its offer hostile if the board of the Dulux paint maker does not engage in talks. PPG called the new proposal "one last invitation" for Akzo's board to engage in talks.

"I think it's important for them to do the due diligence and to sit down and listen to us", McGarry said.

Given that there is a third PPG proposal being considered by Akzo Nobel's Boards, as part of its evaluation of its next steps, Elliott intends to assess Akzo Nobel's response to that proposal.

"The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Akzo Nobel will carefully review and consider this proposal", said Akzo, noting it was required by law to study the bid.

The latest offer appeared to address some of Akzo's concerns over how a takeover could affect its stakeholders, including commitments to maintain Dutch jobs and a promise not to relocate any of the firm's European Union production facilities to the U.S. PPG also said it would agree to a "significant reverse" breakup fee, as well as a pledge that a future combined company would be listed on both the NY and Amsterdam stock exchanges. PPG also will commit to respecting current union contracts, buyout plan terms, and return rights for workers who have been laid off by AkzoNobel.

Activist investor Elliott Management, asset manager Columbia Threadneedle, Causeway Capital, Franklin Templeton, Henderson, Harris Associates and Southeastern Concentrated Value, all holding minority stakes in AkzoNobel, had urged the company to start a dialogue with PPG.

Dulux owner AkzoNobel has continued to stand its ground in an increasingly acrimonious dispute with leading shareholders by rejecting a request to hold a vote on the future of its chairman.

In a proposal letter to Antony Burgmans, chairman of AkzoNobel's supervisory board and Ton Büchner, chief executive officer and management board chairman, PPG detailed its increased offer of EUR96.75 per ordinary share of AkzoNobel, comprised of cash of EUR61.50 and 0.357 shares of PPG stock. It constitutes cash and stock valued at 96.75 euros a share including a dividend that the Dutch company plans to pay, the Pittsburgh-based company said Monday in a statement.

A second proposal worth 90 euros per share on March 20 was rejected within 48 hours, with Akzo arguing it substantially undervalued the company and would be bad for other stakeholders, such as employees and customers.

Last week, Akzo presented its case for remaining independent, offering shareholders €41.6bn in extra dividends and detailing plans to sell or float its chemicals arm, representing a third of company sales and profits, within one year.

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