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Akzo Nobel confirms merger talks with Axalta

  • Akzo said in a statement the companies were in "constructive talks" but there was no guarantee they would come to a successful conclusion
  • Reuters reported on Friday the companies were in talks, sending Axalta's shares 17 percent higher
Jock Fistick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dutch paints and coatings maker Akzo Nobel, under pressure after rejecting a lucrative takeover offer and then issuing two profit warnings, said it was in merger talks with U.S. rival Axalta Coating Systems Ltd that could create a $30 billion company.

Akzo, the maker of Dulux paint, announced it was in "constructive talks" following market speculation about a possible deal.

Reuters reported on Friday the companies were in talks, sending Axalta's shares 17 percent higher.

Akzo has a market capitalization of 19.5 billion euros ($22.7 billion), while Axalta is worth $8.1 billion at Friday's closing price of $33.15.

Akzo said merging with Axalta, whose truck coatings business fills a hole in its portfolio, would "create a leading global paints and coatings company."

Akzo earlier this year faced lawsuits from shareholders angry over its decision to reject a 26 billion euro takeover offer from U.S. rival PPG Industries.

Analyst Joost van Beek of Theodoor Gilissen said the timing of the Axalta deal will be difficult, and Akzo's management is under pressure to pull it off.

"There is a large risk that Akzo will pay too much, as it is clear that they want to stay out of the hands of PPG, and Axalta knows that."

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday that talks were at an early stage and there was no guarantee the companies would come to an agreement.