How PPG lost its $29.5 billion bet on Dulux paint

Thu Jun 1, 2017 7:28pm EDT
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By Pamela Barbaglia and Toby Sterling

LONDON/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - In early March, U.S. paint maker PPG (PPG.N: Quote)'s Chief Executive Michael McGarry flew from Pittsburgh to Amsterdam to take Akzo Nobel (AKZO.AS: Quote) boss Ton Buechner for lunch.

There, the 59-year-old American ambushed Buechner with a takeover plan and price tag that his company had been working on for months, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Rather than spark a discussion, McGarry's bold move at their March 2 meeting triggered a hard-nosed response.

"He was brutal in his approach and Akzo decided to respond in the same aggressive way," said the source.

The offer was rebuffed on March 9. Akzo said the proposal was "not in the interests of its employees" and the firm would pursue different plans to sell its specialty chemicals business.

After two more offers were rejected, the Pittsburgh-based firm on Thursday dropped its bid, whose value had risen to 26.3 billion euro ($29.48 billion).

The nature of the lunchtime meeting has not previously been reported, but other elements of PPG's pursuit emerged in news briefings and a May court hearing, exposing details of the takeover bid that would normally stay behind closed doors.

"The fact that it went public made the process difficult from the beginning," Bryan Iams, PPG'S vice president for corporate and government affairs, told Reuters in an emailed response to questions.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: Cans of Dulux paint, an Akzo Nobel brand, are seen on the shelves of a hardware store near Manchester, Britain, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo