BERLIN (Reuters) - Industrial gases firms Air Products and Air Liquide may bid for parts of peers Linde (LING.DE) and Praxair (PX.N) that the two groups may be forced to divest in the event of a merger, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Friday.
Linde and Praxair need to obtain anti-trust approval for their merger in 25 countries, for which they have said they were prepared to make divestments up to a “pain threshold” of $3.7 billion in sales beyond which the deal may no longer make sense.
Praxair’s finance chief said in late July there has been a “significant” amount of unsolicited interest in assets the firm could put up for sale.
Air Products (APD.N) would evaluate any assets that Linde and Praxair would seek to divest as part of a merger, while France’s Air Liquide (AIRP.PA) said it would study the opportunities that could arise from the merger, the newspaper reported, citing responses from the two firms.
German peer Messer has already held talks with banks including UBS (UBSG.S) and possible partners, Frankfurter Allgemeine said, adding that Messer would probably team up with CVC [CVC.UL].
The planned all-share merger of equals will create a global leader to overtake Air Liquide with a combined market value of $80 billion, revenue of $28.7 billion and 88,000 staff.
Reporting by Andreas Cremer, editing by David Evans