French industrial gas producer Air Liquide will buy U.S. counterpart Airgas in a deal valued at about $10.3 billion.
The companies say Air Liquide will pay $143 in cash for each share of Airgas in a deal that already has been approved by the boards of both companies. Including debt, the deal is worth $13.4 billion.
The per-share price represents a 35 percent premium over the closing price of Airgas shares on Monday, and the Radnor, Pennsylvania, company’s stock soared Tuesday after the deal was announced.
The acquisition still needs approval from regulators and Airgas shareholders. Airgas will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Liquide once the companies complete the deal.
Airgas supplies industrial, medical and specialty gases. Its produces carbon dioxide, dry ice and nitrous oxide as well as other products such as welding equipment. The company has 12 locations in south Louisiana, stretching from Jennings to Slidell.
Air Liquide, which is based in Paris, brings in $20.4 billion in revenue annually, or about four times as much as Airgas. It already has more than 5,000 employees in the United States and said the Airgas deal will strengthen its presence in the largest market worldwide for industrial gases. Air Liquide has more than 200 locations across the U.S., including locations in Donaldsonville, Geismar, Port Allen, Plaquemine and a $170 million air separation unit it plans to build at the Yuhuang Chemical facility now under construction in St. James Parish.
The Air Liquide offer comes more than four years after Airgas fended off a lengthy takeover bid from another rival, Air Products and Chemicals Inc. Air Products abandoned its $70-per-share offer in February 2011 after a Delaware Chancery Court judge upheld a poison pill plan that Airgas directors relied upon to fend off Air Products’ hostile bid.
Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Air Products started pursuing Airgas in 2009.
Shares of Airgas rose 29 percent, or $31.17, to $137.35 Tuesday. That wiped out a roughly 8 percent drop the stock had seen so far this year.