The Praxair, Inc. and Linde AG story will not be going full circle anytime soon, after both companies announced the termination of talks over a potential merger.
Though Linde said that the ‘strategic rationale’ of a merger has been principally confirmed, talks never progressed beyond a preliminary stage.
A [Linde] disclosure of an inside information according to Article 17 MAR, transmitted by DGAP, explained, “The shareholder representatives in the supervisory board of Linde AG recommend, in consensus with the CEO of Linde AG, to the management and supervisory board of the company to terminate the preliminary talks with Praxair, Inc. about a potential merger.”
“While the strategic rationale of a merger has been principally confirmed, discussions about details, specifically about Governance aspects, did not result in a mutual understanding.”
Initial news of the talks in mid-August had sent further shockwaves throughout the industry and investment community, having only weeks before seen Air Liquide complete the $13.4bn acquisition of fellow Tier One player Airgas, Inc.
It had been estimated that a union of Linde and Praxair could further shift the landscape in the industry were it to happen; gas world Business Intelligence had projected a combined global market share of 33%, pre-divestment.
But both parties had been keen to stress that there could be no assurance about any prospective talks, with Praxair underlining, “These discussions are ongoing and there can be no assurance that they will result in a transaction, or on what terms any transaction may occur.”
Praxair and Linde have a number of intertwined moments in their respective histories, dating back to World War I, which had prompted speculation of a story that might go full circle. Less than a month later, however, and their initial caution has been proven wise with today’s announcement bringing a swift end to any supposition.