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The ongoing battle for the future ownership of national welding and gases distributor Airgas has moved into Delaware Chancery Court. Airgas, Radnor, PA, filed a lawsuit against Air Products in an attempt to prevent implementation of a bylaw amendment to move the annual meeting to Jan. 18 as voted on by shareholders at Airgas' Sept. 15 annual meeting.
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In addition to the Airgas lawsuit, Delaware Chancery Court Judge William B. Chandler III agreed to hear arguments for a lawsuit filed by Air Products in February to force Airgas to consider its buyout offers.
The highest official offer made for Airgas was $65.50 per share, a number Airgas CEO Peter McCausland said continued to "grossly undervalue Airgas." The Airgas board rejected the offer on Sept. 8.
But, according to a report on the trial published by Bloomberg, McCausland had a number in mind for recommending opening negotiations. If "Air Products made a $70 bid and did the things I wanted, I’d recommend" Airgas' board begin negotiations, McCausland testified. At $70 per share, the offer would have been worth $5.9 billion as of Sept. 15, according to the Bloomberg report.
According to the report, McCausland recalled that after negotiations broke down after the Sept. 15 vote, Air Products officials had said 'to never expect to get anything with a 7 on it' in connection with a per-share offer.
The hearing is expected to last a week.
Read more about the battle for Airgas at http://www.mdm.com/Airgas.