Linde Board Approves Merger With Praxair

By Monica Houston-Waesch and William Wilkes Features Dow Jones Newswires

Linde AG's board on Thursday voted to approve a merger with U.S. peer Praxair Inc. that would create the world's largest industrial-gas maker with a combined market value of $66.6 billion.

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Linde said the two companies would become subsidiaries of a new holding company, to be incorporated in Ireland with its board meetings held in the U.K. The entity would seek inclusion on the S&P 500 and Germany's DAX 30 indexes, Linde said.

Linde said that for the deal to go through, Praxair shareholders would need to approve the deal and accept a public exchange offer of a minimum of 75% of Linde shares outstanding.

The companies provide "specialty" gases such as helium and pure oxygen, used in all sorts of applications, and clients are predominantly oil drillers, chemical makers and hospitals, as well as food producers and manufacturers.

According to the plan, Praxair's Chief Executive Steve Angel would become CEO of the merged group and manage it out of Praxair's U.S. headquarters in Danbury, Conn. Linde Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle will retain that role in the merged company.

A merger between the two would be a reunion of sorts, Praxair was once the U.S. arm of the German company before it was sold to Union Carbide and then spun off as a separate entity in 1992.

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Regulatory approval remains outstanding, Linde said Thursday. Some analysts have said the two companies may have to shed operations generating up to $5 billion in annual sales to satisfy regulators.

Write to Monica Houston-Waesch at nikki.houston@wsj.com

FRANKFURT -- The boards of Praxair Inc. and Germany's Linde AG have voted to approve a merger that would create the world's largest industrial-gas maker with a combined market value of $66.6 billion.

Linde said Thursday the two companies would become subsidiaries of a new holding company, to be incorporated in Ireland with its board meetings held in the U.K. The entity would seek inclusion on the S&P 500 and Germany's DAX 30 indexes, Linde said.

Linde said that for the deal to go through, Praxair shareholders would need to approve the deal and accept a public exchange offer of a minimum of 75% of Linde shares outstanding.

The companies provide specialty gases such as helium and pure oxygen, used in many applications, and clients are predominantly oil drillers, chemical makers and hospitals, as well as food producers and manufacturers.

According to the plan, Praxair Chief Executive Steve Angel would become CEO of the merged group and manage it out of Praxair's U.S. headquarters in Danbury, Conn.

Linde Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle would retain that role in the merged company.

A merger between the two would be a reunion of sorts; Praxair was once the U.S. arm of the German company before it was sold to Union Carbide and then spun off as a separate entity in 1992.

Regulatory approval remains outstanding, Linde said Thursday. Some analysts have said that the two companies may need to shed operations generating as much as $5 billion in annual sales to satisfy regulators.

Write to Monica Houston-Waesch at nikki.houston@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 01, 2017 16:35 ET (20:35 GMT)