Important deals in the chemical sector

Published 17 July 2008

Ashland acquires Hercules, and Dow announces its plans to acquire Rohm and Haas; Ashland values Hercules at $3.3 billion; Dow is willing to pay $18.8 billion for Rohm and Haas

Important business moves in the chemical sector. Global chemicals giant Ashland is to acquire Hercules in a combined share and stock deal which values Hercules at approximately $3.3 billion. Ashland is a leading manufacturer of specialty chemicals and a distributor of chemicals and plastics, while Hercules is a developer of specialty additives and ingredients that modify the physical properties of water-based systems. “We will combine the paper and water businesses of each company to create one global paper and water technologies business with annual revenue of $2 billion,” said Ashland chairman and chief executive officer James O’Brien.

The news comes hard on the heels of yet another big deal in the specialty chemicals field. Not to be outdone in the acquisition arena, Dow has announced that it plans to buy Rohm and Haas for $18.8 billion. The acquisition would make Dow the world’s leading specialty chemicals and advanced materials company. Financing for the Rohm and Haas purchase includes an equity investment by Berkshire Hathaway and the Kuwait Investment Authority in the form of convertible preferred securities for $3 billion and $1 billion, respectively. The Dow deal, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, remains subject to approval by Rohm and Haas shareholders, customary conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals.