Sunday, September 26, 2010

Airgas/Air Products

As regular readers will recall, this blog has traced the sometimes stormy relationship between two competitors in the market for industrial gas supplies, both headquartered in Pennsylvania: Air Products (APD), of Allentown, [get out of my head, Billy Joel!] and Airgas (ARG), of Radnor.

APD bid for ARG back in February and signalled at that time a readiness to wage a proxy fight for control.

Airgas held its annual meeting recently -- September 15. So ... what happened?

Shareholders elected the three nominees for director promoted by APD. But that doesn't mean an acquisition will go through uncontested. The board is staggered, so APD would have to win another election to gain majority control. Even in announcing their election, Airgas cautioned them against over confidence in this regard.

"Although our new directors were originally nominated to stand for election to our Board by Air Products, like all Board members, they have fiduciary duties to all AIrgas stockholders. These duties do not allow them to act in Air Products' interests, or in affiliation with Air Products."

Meanwhile, shareholders also voted on three proposed bylaw amendments designed for the benefit of the would-be acquirer, and it isn't clear what the result was of these votes.

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