Two-plus years after it was first announced, the $86 billion merger between Praxair and Linde has been approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, clearing the last significant hurdle to creating the world’s largest industrial gas supplier.The combined entity, which will operate as Linde PLC, will have a market capitalization of about $90 billion and annual revenue of more than $30 billion. The Munich-based Linde was required to sell off $3.3 billion of its U.S. operations to German competitor Messer Group, while Danbury-based Praxair sold most of its European operations to Japan’s Taiyo Nippon Sanso for $6 billion.
The resulting company will employ about 80,000 people across more than 100 countries.
The FTC approval came through at practically the last possible moment: The companies were facing an Oct. 24 deadline to complete the deal under German financial market rules – almost two years after agreeing to the deal in principle in December 2016, following several months of on-again/off-again talks. The firms said they expect the transaction to close on Oct. 31.
The new Linde PLC shares are expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LIN. Trading in shares of Praxair’s common stock is expected to be suspended on the NYSE as of close of business on Oct. 30, with Praxair’s common stock expected to be delisted from the NYSE.
Praxair CEO Steve Angel will become chief executive of the merged company, whose official headquarters will be in Dublin. Corporate operations will remain in Danbury and Munich. Linde Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Reitzle will remain as chairman of the new entity.
The merger represents something of a homecoming for Praxair, which began life as Linde Air Products Co. in 1907. It was part of a group of four chemical companies that formed Union Carbide and Carbon Corp. in 1917; it was spun off as Praxair in 1992.