Dow-DuPont Into Home Stretch With Canada, Mexico Clearance

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By Eleanor Tyler

Dow Chemical Co.'s proposed $74 billion merger with DuPont Co. has garnered another two important antitrust clearances and heads into July on track for an August closing date, the companies confirmed by email June 28.

Mexico’s antitrust authority and Canada’s Competition Bureau both cleared the deal with conditions on June 27, meaning that all of North America has cleared the merger.

The merger is one of a trio of mega-deals that would reshape the global agrochemicals industry and the second deal to approach the finish line. China National Chemical Corp. announced completion of its second $43 billion tender offer for Syngenta AG on June 7, acquiring about 95 percent of Syngenta’s shares.

Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for $66 billion is a distant third in the race to gain antitrust clearance, having not yet filed for review by the European Union.

If cleared, the three transactions would consolidate the industry into four major players, including BASF SE. The same companies are also the world’s largest producers of seeds.

Canada expressed concerns about loss of rivalry between Dow and Dupont in two agricultural markets and two specialized plastics markets. The markets Canada has singled out have already been identified as a competitive concern in other jurisdictions, even though each country reviews the competitive impacts of a merger in its own markets and using its own methodology.

Under its consent decree with Canada, Dow will sell its global acid copolymer and ionomer business, including its dedicated North American acid copolymer manufacturing facility in Freeport, Texas, to SK Global Chemical Co., LTD. That’s the same remedy the companies agreed to undertake in their consent agreement with U.S. and EU authorities.

DuPont’s promise to sell its global cereal herbicides business to FMC for $1.6 billion is also a condition of the Canadian consent agreement, which appears in the company’s consent orders with the U.S. as well.

Mexico’s competition authority likewise required Dow’s acid copolymer and ionomer businesses be divested to clear the deal, accepting, as Canada did, SK Global Chemical Co. Ltd. as the buyer. Mexico also expressed concern about insecticides that target chewing insects in multiple crops without specifying the purchaser for the businesses ordered divested.

In an email, the companies confirmed to Bloomberg BNA that they are “making progress in fulfilling the requirements of the conditional approvals that have already been received.”

The deal has already cleared the U.S., EU, Brazil, China, and India.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eleanor Tyler in Washington at etyler@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bna.com

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