October 18, 2018 / 8:01 AM / a month ago

Linde-Praxair merger set to win U.S. FTC clearance: Manager Magazin

FILE PHOTO: The Praxair logo is seen during a news conference with Linde in Munich, Germany, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Industrial gases group Praxair PX.N and Linde LIN1.DE are set to win U.S. antitrust approval for their planned $86 billion merger, clearing the last major hurdle for the deal, German monthly Manager Magazin reported.

The Praxair board has been given verbal assurance by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the conditional go-ahead was imminent, and the ruling will be issued in writing in the next few days, the magazine said on its website, without specifying its sources.

Linde, which declined to comment, had said on Monday it had agreed with FTC staff on remedies to secure approval but that the package was still under review by FTC’s top-level commissioners.

Shares in Linde jumped as much as 10 percent and were up 6.2 percent at 220.40 euros by 0847 GMT.

All other competition authorities in question have given the green light, including the European Commission, which was won over by a deal to sell Praxair’s European gases business to Japanese rival Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp (4091.T).

The EU, however, has yet to sign off on Taiyo Nippon Sanso as a suitable buyer.

Linde in July lined up a consortium of gases firm Messer and investor CVC [CVC.UL] as a buyer of North and South American assets to allay U.S. antitrust concerns, but talks with the FTC hit a snag, requiring more asset sales.

The companies face an Oct. 24 deadline to complete the deal under German financial market rules.

($1 = 0.8687 euros)

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Maria Sheahan

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