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Two leading shareholders in Akzo Nobel have called on the company to “engage” with PPG Industries, after the Dutch paints and chemicals group rejected a revised €22.4bn takeover bid from its US rival.
The maker of Dulux paints on Wednesday revealed it had dismissed a second cash-and-shares approach from PPG, saying the offer undervalued the company, was not in the best interest of shareholders and raised concerns around antitrust and potential job cuts.
Activist hedge fund Elliot Advisors, a top five shareholder with more than 3 per cent of the stock, spoke out against the decision.
“Elliott urges Akzo Nobel to engage with PPG immediately to determine whether PPG is prepared to bid at a level that provides adequate consideration to Akzo Nobel shareholders and whether PPG can adequately address all relevant stakeholder considerations,” it said in a statement.
Another top 20 shareholder, Columbia Threadneedle, made a similar intervention.
David Dudding, portfolio manager at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, told the FT: “We see strong logic in a combination of Akzo Nobel and PPG and the potential benefits this offers all stakeholders. Akzo needs to recognise this and engage.”
VEB, an influential Dutch shareholder group, called for the company to consider the deal.
Paul Koster, director of VEB, told the FT: “They can’t just shut the door. I can understand them saying it is too low. But when a second bid comes in from a serious player, then you should talk to each other.”
Akzo Nobel’s chief executive Ton Büchner said the the company had “listened carefully” to shareholders and taken their views into consideration when arriving at the decision, which was taken unanimously by its boards.
A combination would require “substantial divestitures” on competition grounds, the Dutch group said.
PPG’s second bid was at €90 per ordinary share, including a dividend about to be paid, comprised of cash of €57.50 and 0.331 share of PPG common stock. It said this represented a 40 per cent premium to Akzo Nobel’s undisturbed share price of 8 March, before details of the initial bid were announced, and was a €7 increase on the original offer.
Shares in Akzo Nobel slipped 2.25 per cent to €74.88 on Wednesday.