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Making Sense Of The Battle For Airgas

If you’re anything like me, you don’t know what to make of the controversy between Airgas and Air Products. Air Products has been trying to acquire Airgas for about 10 months, and everything seems like a carefully played chess match leading up to Airgas’ annual meeting on September 15. As it approaches, I’ve been trying to get a grasp on everything that has taken place.

The feud has now made its way into a New York Times blog from UConn Law Professor Steven M. Davidoff, which dissects the latest moves by each party involved and their potential implications. Why did Airgas send a letter to the Delaware court? Why exactly is Air Product proposing a bylaw amendment to move Airgas’ next annual meeting all the way up to January 2011? Davidoff puts it in terms you can wrap your head around. NB – It’s infused with Davidoff’s opinion, so don’t take it all as fact.

Last week, Airgas sent a letter to its shareholders stating, among many other things, “If Air Products truly wants to acquire Airgas, it knows what to do. It must offer a price that fairly compensates you—our stockholders—or terminate its efforts.”

The NYT blog brings up an important point that seems to draw on this statement: “Whether Airgas intended it, the events of this week tell the market that it certainly is for sale at the right price.”

Is a takeover imminent? What impact do you think it will have on other distributors if it happens?

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