Airgas Becomes the King of ‘No!'(ARG, APD)

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Two weeks ago, Air Products (NYSE: APD) made what it said was its “best and final offer” for Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), a $70.00 per share hostile takeover deal that has been brewing for more than a year. Today, Airgas announced that it believed that the offer was “inadequate” and rejected it.

That ought to do it for this long-running melodrama. When Airgas rejected the offer from Air Products in October, we noted that the three directors on Airgas’ board put there by Air Products joined in the board’s unanimous decision.

Air Products could still try to gain control of the board at the shareholders meeting scheduled for next month, where it has said it will offer a slate of three additional directors, who, if elected, would give Air Products a majority. But with its three current directors already off the reservation, an acquisition does not seem likely.

Airgas is up 0.2% at $61.55 with a $5.15 billion market cap; and Air Products shares are up only $0.02 at $90.59 with a $19.4 billion market cap.

The plot thickens…

Paul Ausick