Praxair ‘held’ merger talks with Linde
Praxair Inc and Germany’s Linde AG have held merger talks to create what would be the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal could be valued at more than $30 billion if it’s structured as an acquisition. The two companies have discussed a possible combination, though the status of the talks isn’t clear, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the negotiations are private.
Praxair, which supplies gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, has a market value of $33.7 billion. Linde, a gases and engineering company, was valued at 25.9 billion euros ($29 billion).
A potential tie-up between Praxair and Linde would further fuel a wave of consolidation in the industry and attract significant scrutiny from antitrust regulators, said Jason Miner, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. France’s Air Liquide SA, which counts refineries, soda bottlers and welders among its customers, completed its biggest purchase in May when it bought Airgas Inc of the United States for $13 billion. That left only four major suppliers, including Praxair, Linde and Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
“The antitrust obstacles are as clear as the economic logic is clear,” Miner added.
“You’d create much more advantage for the larger bidder but that would also significantly reduce competition.”
A spokesman for Linde declined to comment on the reported talks. A Praxair representative wasn’t immediately available for comment outside normal business hours.