August 29, 2017 / 6:59 AM / a year ago

Linde, Praxair get second antitrust request from FTC

The Praxair logo is seen during a news conference with Linde in Munich, Germany, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde (LING.DE) and Praxair PX.N said late on Monday they were responding to a second request from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding their planned $74 billion merger and were in a pre-notification phase with the European Commission.

The German and U.S. industrial gases groups said in a U.S. regulatory filing they still expected the all-share merger of equals, which is subject to anti-trust review in approximately 24 jurisdictions, to close in the second half of 2018.

“This is a typical step in review of a transaction of this size, and was expected,” Linde said of the second request from the FTC.

The deal will create a global leader to overtake France’s Air Liquide (AIRP.PA) with a combined market value of $74 billion, revenue of $28.7 billion and 88,000 staff.

The two companies said they had submitted notifications to anti-trust authorities in China, India and South Korea in mid-August, and planned to make formal filings in Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Russia in mid-September.

A tender offer is running for Linde shareholders to exchange their shares for stock in the new combined company, and Praxair will hold a special meeting for its shareholders to vote on the deal on Sept. 27.

The tender period for Linde shareholders ends on Oct. 24, and the offer must be accepted for 75 percent of stock for the deal to go through. The Praxair shareholder vote requires a simple majority.

Linde shares were down 0.7 percent in early trading, broadly in line with the German blue-chip DAX .GDAXI.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Maria Sheahan

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