Merger of Clariant and Huntsman cancelled
In a joint statement, Peter R. Huntsman, President and CEO of Huntsman, and Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant, stated: “We remain convinced that the proposed merger of equals as agreed to on May 21, 2017, would have been in the long-term best interests of all of our shareholders. However, given the continued accumulation of Clariant shares by activist investor White Tale Holdings and its opposition to the transaction, which is now supported by some other shareholders, we believe that there is simply too much uncertainty as to whether Clariant will be able to secure the two-thirds shareholder approval that is required to approve the transaction under Swiss law.”
White Hall started accumulating shares of Clariant this summer in multiple steps starting at around 7.2 % of Clariant shares in July. In late September it owned 15.1 % of Clariants shares. As of today White Tale increased it shares to over 20 %. White Tall is a combined entity that represents the interests of Corvex, a hedge fund from New York, and 40 North, a roofing materials company from the US.
Clariant and Huntsman further stated: “Under these circumstances and in light of the high level of disruption and uncertainty that has been created for both companies, we have jointly decided to terminate the merger agreement. This will allow both companies to focus again fully on their respective stand-alone strategies in the best interests of the companies and their shareholders, associates, and other stakeholders. We maintain a great respect for one another, and we want to recognize and express our mutual and deep appreciation for the efforts and incredible commitment demonstrated by the associates of each company over the past several months.”
The Termination Agreement foresees no payment of a break fee on either side. Clariant, therefore, avoids paying both the USD 210m deal breakage fee and the USD 60m EGM non-approval fee as foreseen in the Merger Agreement.
Rudolf Wehrli, Chairman of the Board of Directors: “We regret the missed opportunity for value creation and thank our shareholders for their support. The Board of Directors, our Chief Executive Officer and our Executive Committee will now focus on our proven strategy to further strengthen the company's market position as a globally leading specialty chemicals company.”
Clariant's CEO Hariolf Kottmann: “While White Tale's position on the merger has been different from ours, we share a common interest in increasing Clariant's value. We are committed to achieving this through a continuation of our existing and successful long-term growth strategy. That said, we will continue our dialogue with all our stakeholders.”