Linde and Praxair Announce Intention to Merge

Linde and Praxair Announce Intention to Merge
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The proposed merger would bring together two leading companies in the global industrial gas industry, leveraging the proven strengths of each.

 

Strategic Highlights

  • Combination leverages unique strengths of each company: Linde’s long-standing leadership in technology with Praxair’s operational excellence
  • Brings together strong, complementary positions in key geographies; creates a more diverse and balanced end market portfolio
  • Enhanced ability to provide innovative, reliable and cost-efficient solutions for customers
  • Combined pro forma revenues of approximately $30 billion (EUR 28 billion) and current market value in excess of $65 billion (EUR 61 billion)
  • Transaction expected to create considerable value, resulting in approximately $1 billion (EUR 0.9 billion) in annual synergies
  • Robust balance sheet and strong cash flow generation, with financial flexibility to invest in future growth

 

Transaction Highlights

  • All-stock transaction: Linde shareholders would receive 1.540 shares in a new holding company for each Linde share and Praxair shareholders would receive one share in the new holding company for each Praxair share, resulting in Linde and Praxair shareholders each owning approximately 50% of the new holding company
  • Governed by a single Board of Directors with equal representation from Linde and Praxair
  • The combined company would be named Linde, retaining the globally recognized brand and would be listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and Frankfurt Stock Exchange

Linde AG and Praxair, Inc. announced that the companies intend to combine in a merger of equals under a new holding company through an all-stock transaction. The companies have signed a non-binding term sheet and expect to execute a definitive Business Combination Agreement as soon as practicable.

Based on 2015 reported results, the combination would create a company with pro forma revenues of approximately $30 billion (EUR 28 billion), prior to any divestitures, and a current market value in excess of $65 billion (EUR 61 billion).

The proposed merger would bring together two leading companies in the global industrial gas industry, leveraging the proven strengths of each. The transaction would unite Linde’s long-held leadership in technology with Praxair’s efficient operating model, creating a global leader.

The combined company would enjoy strong positions in all key geographies and end markets and create a more diverse and balanced global portfolio. Additionally, it would enable the development and delivery of more innovative products and services to customers.

"The strategic combination between Linde and Praxair would leverage the complementary strengths of each across a larger global footprint and create a more resilient portfolio with increased exposure to long-term macro growth trends," said Steve Angel, Praxair’s Chairman and CEO.

"We consider this to be a true strategic merger, as it brings together the capabilities, talented people and best-in-class processes of both companies, creating a unique and compelling opportunity for all of our stakeholders."

"Under the Linde brand, we want to combine our companies’ business and technology capabilities and form a global industrial gas leader. Beyond the strategic fit, the compelling, value-creating combination would achieve a robust balance sheet and cash flow and generate financial flexibility to invest in our future," said Professor Dr. Aldo Belloni, CEO of Linde.

 

Value Creation from the Combination

The merged company would create significant value for shareholders through the realization of approximately $1 billion (EUR 0.9 billion) in annual synergies, driven by scale benefits, cost savings and efficiency improvements.

 

Governance and Leadership

The combined company would be governed by a single Board of Directors with equal representation from Linde and Praxair. Linde’s Supervisory Board Chairman, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, would become Chairman of the new company’s Board. Praxair’s Chairman and CEO, Steve Angel, would become CEO and a member of the Board of Directors.

The combined company would adopt the globally-recognized Linde name and be listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Prime Standard segment). The new company will seek inclusion in the S&P 500 and DAX indices.

The new holding company would be formed and domiciled in a neutral member state of the European Economic Area ("EEA"), with the CEO based in Danbury, Connecticut USA. Corporate functions would be appropriately split between Danbury, Connecticut and Munich, Germany to help achieve efficiencies for the combined company.

 

Proposed Merger Structure

Under the proposed terms of the transaction, Linde shareholders would receive 1.540 shares in the new holding company for each Linde share exchanged in the German offer, and Praxair shareholders would receive one share in the new holding company for each Praxair share. As a result, current Linde and Praxair shareholders would each own approximately 50% of the combined company, assuming a 100% share exchange in the German offer.

 

Next Steps and Timing

The parties expect to complete their internal approvals and execute the definitive Business Combination Agreement in the coming months. Execution of a definitive Business Combination Agreement remains subject to confirmatory due diligence, further negotiations and Board approvals of both Linde and Praxair.

There is no assurance that a binding definitive agreement will be reached between the parties, and the consummation of any binding transaction will be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Linde and Praxair are confident that any required regulatory approvals, including any required divestitures, could be obtained in a timely manner following the execution of a definitive Business Combination Agreement.

 

Advisors

Perella Weinberg Partners and Morgan Stanley are acting as financial advisors and Hengeler Mueller, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Linklaters LLP (regulatory) are serving as legal counsel to Linde. Credit Suisse is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as legal counsel to Praxair.

 

Additional Information and Where to Find It

Should Praxair, Inc. ("Praxair") and Linde AG ("Linde") proceed with the proposed business combination transaction, Praxair and Linde expect that a newly formed holding company ("New Holdco") will file a Registration Statement on Form S-4 or Form F-4 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") that will include (1) a proxy statement of Praxair that will also constitute a prospectus for New Holdco and (2) an offering prospectus of New Holdco to be used in connection with New Holdco’s offer to acquire Linde shares held by U.S. holders.

When available, Praxair will mail the proxy statement/prospectus to its stockholders in connection with the vote to approve the merger of Praxair and a wholly-owned subsidiary of New Holdco, and New Holdco will distribute the offering prospectus to Linde shareholders in the United States in connection with New Holdco’s offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Linde.

Should Praxair and Linde proceed with the proposed business combination transaction, Praxair and Linde also expect that New Holdco will file an offer document with the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt fuer Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) ("BaFin").

There can be no assurance that a binding definitive agreement will be reached between Praxair and Linde, and the consummation of any binding transaction will be subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

 

INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND THE OFFER DOCUMENT REGARDING THE PROPOSED BUSINESS COMBINATION TRANSACTION AND PROPOSED OFFER IF AND WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

You may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement/prospectus (if and when it becomes available) and other related documents filed by Praxair, Linde and New Holdco with the SEC on the SEC’s Web site at www.sec.gov.

The proxy statement/prospectus (if and when it becomes available) and other documents relating thereto may also be obtained for free by accessing Praxair’s Web site at www.praxair.com.

Following approval by the BaFin, the offer document will be made available at BaFin’s Web site at www.bafin.de. The offer document (if and when it becomes available) and other documents relating thereto may also be obtained for free by accessing Linde’s Web site at www.linde.com.

This document is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell shares of New Holdco, Praxair or Linde. The final terms and further provisions regarding the public offer will be disclosed in the offer document after the publication has been approved by the BaFin and in documents that will be filed with the SEC.

No money, securities or other consideration is being solicited, and, if sent in response to the information contained herein, will not be accepted. The information contained herein should not be considered as a recommendation that any person should subscribe for or purchase any securities.

No offering of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable European and German regulations.

The distribution of this document may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions and persons into whose possession any document or other information referred to herein come should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions.

Any failure to comply with these restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities will be made directly or indirectly, in or into any jurisdiction where to do so would be inconsistent with the laws of such jurisdiction.

 

Participants in Solicitation

Praxair, Linde, New Holdco and their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Praxair’s stockholders in respect of the proposed business combination.

Information regarding the persons who are, under the rules of the SEC, participants in the solicitation of the stockholders of Praxair in connection with the proposed transaction, including a description of their direct or indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the proxy statement/prospectus if and when it is filed with the SEC.

Information regarding the directors and executive officers of Praxair is contained in Praxair’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and its Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A, dated March 18, 2016, which are filed with the SEC and can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.

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