Sunday, 19 November, 2017

Akzo Nobel's battle with PPG escalates amid push to oust chairman

REUTERS  Toussaint Kluiters  United Akzo Nobel Accuses Elliott Advisors Of Planning To Share 'Price Sensitive Information'
Mae Harvey | 13 April, 2017, 02:14

Elliot Investors has called for the removal of Antony Burgmans following the refusal of the Dutch firm to enter into negotiations with PPG Industries a rival USA paint maker related to a takeover bid of $24 billion.

A spokesperson for Akzo told Reuters that the company will respond to the investors' request within two weeks, as stipulated by Dutch law. To the extent that Akzo Nobel refuses to put this item onto the EGM agenda, Elliott intends to use its recourse to the Dutch Courts, including the Enterprise Chamber. "It's logical PPG and Elliott are moving in the same direction, but the question is whether they are working together". The Amsterdam-based company also turned to the Dutch regulator after obtaining information suggesting Elliott meant to share price-sensitive information about the demand with PPG ahead of time.

Akzo Nobel management just wants to be left alone.

AzkoNobel, the paints and coating group, claimed that Elliott Advisors was preparing to share potentially price-sensitive information with PPG, the United States rival that is trying to take over Akzo, when calling for an emergency meeting to remove its chairman.

In March, Azko rejected a $24 billion takeover offer from PPG, saying it was too low.

Gas prices rise in Pittsburgh area
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Akzo has said it became aware this week that Elliott Advisors, the activist investor holds a stake of more than 3pc in the paints giant, planned on sharing "potentially price sensitive" information with PPG.

Pittsburgh-based PPG says that is not true and Akzo should enter talks to better understand the benefits that would flow to those stakeholders from its own proposal. The investor added that it has met with PPG as one of the Dutch company's top 20 shareholders.

The Dutch company plans to release a new strategy on April 19 for spinning off its chemicals business to increase shareholder value.

It wasn't clear if Elliott's move would succeed even if the hedge fund could muster enough votes.

PPG Chief Executive Michael McGarry said last week that the company isn't ruling out a sweetened offer or a hostile bid for Akzo.

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