Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said Friday the groundwork for a deal with DuPont had already been laid out.
"Our ascendancy, in terms of our strategy ... has been lifting us towards DuPont. As we got closer and closer, this deal became a reality," Liveris told CNBC's " Squawk on the Street." "There was always a deal out there at some premium, if you want to put it [like that]. The beauty of this deal is that it's a 50-50 deal, based in all the fairness tests, all the input for people out there."
The deal, which is likely to face intense regulatory scrutiny, allows the new company — to be called DowDuPont — to rejig assets based on the diverging fortunes of their businesses that make agriculture chemicals and plastics.
"I was doing a lot of my own homework on it and saying there's something very exciting here," DuPont Chief Executive Ed Breen said in the same interview.
Dow and DuPont have been struggling to cope with falling demand for farm chemicals due to falling crop prices and a strong dollar, even as their plastics businesses have thrived thanks to low natural gas prices.
The companies said the proposed split would create businesses focused on agriculture, materials and specialty products. Dow and DuPont shareholders will each own about 50 percent of DowDuPont, excluding preferred shares.