One mammoth deal in the gases & welding equipment sector last month dominated M&A news across the industry and marked one of the biggest acquisitions to hit distribution in years – Air Liquide's announcement it had agreed to pay $10.3 billion for Airgas Inc.
With debt, the deal is valued at $13.4 billion and creates the largest industrial gases and welding equipment distributor in the world. Airgas reported 2014 revenues of $5.1 billion; Air Liquide reported 2014 revenues of €15.4 billion (US$16.4 billion).
Paris-based Air Liquide called the acquisition "game-changing" as it "strengthens Air Liquide’s global leadership position, offers new opportunities to Airgas’ customers and delivers significant value to shareholders."
And it wouldn't have happened if Airgas had accepted a $5.8 billion takeover attempt by Lehigh Valley, PA-based Air Products in 2011, something Airgas Executive Chairman Peter McCausland at the time called the "proposed steal of Airgas by Air Products."
Air Products President and CEO Seifi Ghasemi told analysts it would not seek a bidding war for Airgas, as he believed "the full price has been paid. We have no intention of getting in on that."
In other M&A news from the gases & welding equipment sector last month, Air Products chose Versum Materials as the name for the materials technologies business it plans to spin-off by Sept. 2016. The new name is derived from the Latin word for toward. Materials technologies, with fiscal 2015 sales of $2.1 billion, has 3,300 employees and operates in more than 12 countries.
Also, Memphis, TN-based gases and welding supplies distributor nexAir acquired helium distributor National Balloon & Banner (doing business as HICO of Jackson), Jackson, MS. The acquisition bolsters nexAir’s footprint in central Mississippi, joining nearby locations in Pearl and Louisville.
Editor Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier contributed to this report.
Here are other key deals that occurred in November 2015: