Sabic said it 'currently has no plans' to make a takeover offer for Clariant
An activist investor targeting Clariant abruptly gave up the battle, selling its shares to Saudi Basic Industries Corp. rather than carry on the fight to force a breakup and sale of the Swiss chemical maker.
Sabic, as the buyer is known, bought the 24.99 percent stake from White Tale Holdings, according to a statement on Thursday to the Saudi stock exchange.
Sabic “currently has no plans” to make a takeover offer for Clariant, according to the statement, which didn’t disclose financial terms. The stake has a market value of about 2.35 billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion) based on Wednesday’s closing price for Clariant.
“Clariant intends to engage with Sabic over the coming weeks in order to discuss the new situation and explore possible ways to create value,” the Muttenz, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Thursday.
“Clariant will also continue the existing dialogue with all its other shareholders.”
White Tale’s exit will be welcomed by Clariant Chief Executive Officer Hariolf Kottmann after the group blocked his planned combination with Huntsman last year.
Clariant is regarded by many investors as Europe’s No. 1 chemical takeover target, and Sabic could provide Kottmann with the second large shareholder that he wanted to provide stability to the company, alongside a family investor group.
White Tale consists of Corvex Management, the hedge fund run by Keith Meister, and industry investor 40 North.
“Sabic’s strategic investment in Clariant is a successful outcome and we are pleased to have played a role in making it possible,” David Millstone, co-chief investment officer of 40 North, said in the Saudi company’s statement.
Clariant shares fell 2.2 percent Wednesday to close at 28.38 francs. The stock has risen 32 percent since White Tale announced July 4 that it had taken a stake and wanted to scuttle the Huntsman deal.
The investor said in November it would go directly to the Swiss chemical maker’s shareholders with a proposal that the company review strategic options after it was rebuffed by the board.
“The deal is part of Sabic’s strategy to diversify its products and to provide innovative solutions to its customers,’’ the Saudi firm said in the statement.