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German industrial gases group Linde and U.S. peer Praxair have ended merger talks that would have created a market leader with a value of more than $60 billion, they said on Monday, sending Linde's shares tumbling.
The two companies had been in early-stage talks amid consolidation in the industrial gas sector, where slower economic growth has weakened demand in the manufacturing, metals and energy sectors.
"While the strategic rationale of a merger has been principally confirmed, discussions about details, specifically about governance aspects, did not result in a mutual understanding," Linde said in a statement.
Praxair confirmed in a one-sentence statement that the talks had been terminated.
Linde shares dropped almost 9 percent in early trading and by 0712 GMT were down 7.8 percent at 137.30 euros, at the bottom of the German blue-chip index and their lowest level in a month.
"We were not convinced that the merger would be beneficial for Linde shareholders," DZ Bank analyst Peter Spengler, who has a "sell" recommendation on the stock, said in a note to clients.