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Honeywell CEO: We will not go hostile with UTX

Honeywell CEO: We will not go hostile with UTX
Honeywell CEO: We will not go hostile with UTX

Honeywell International on Tuesday dropped its merger bid for United Technologies. Now Honeywell CEO David Cote says his firm will walk away on friendly terms, without going hostile.

"I can say that at $108, this is already an incredible deal, or, I should say, was an incredible deal," Cote told Jim Cramer on Wednesday. "... There was a lot of value there already, but if they don't want to do it they don't want to do it."

He says the deal would have been smart for shareholders for both firms, but he rejected the idea of trying to force a deal by going hostile. "I was pretty clear from the beginning with investors that I'm not going to do that," he said. "We've got plenty of other opportunities."

Cramer spoke with Honeywell's chairman and CEO at the company's annual investor conference, where the company reaffirmed its full-year guidance. Honeywell's bailiwick as an industrial company involves it in everything from aerospace components, climate control systems, security equipment, specialty materials, turbochargers and refining catalysts.

Cote says talks between the industrial giants began about four years ago, when former United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert approached him, but those early talks fizzled.

There was a lot of value there already, but if they don't want to do it they don't want to do it.
David Cote
Chairman & CEO, Honeywell International
David Cote, Chairman and CEO of Honeywell International.
Heather Gaines | CNBC

The discussion was revived around April 2015, when United Technologies made a proposal. Honeywell responded with a counter proposal in the end of 2015, in which Cote said United Technologies "responded vehemently that they wanted nothing to do with it."

Those talks resumed two weeks ago, but United Technologies said the deal would never pass muster with antitrust regulators and major customers such as Airbus and Boeing. Additionally, media reports cited sources close to the deal saying United considered the $108 a share offer to be too low.

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Cote also said that, had the deal been successful, he would have considered serving as CEO of the combined company.

"It seemed to me that just reputation wise, investors would feel more comfortable if I was doing that," he said. "And I said I would be willing to do that, even though I'm 63 and a half."

United Technologies Wednesday issued a statement acknowledging Honeywell's decision.

"This is the appropriate outcome given the strong regulatory obstacles, negative customer reaction and the potential for a protracted review process that would have destroyed shareholder value," United Technologies said in a statement.

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