By Joshua Jamerson
Industrial gas maker Air Products & Chemicals Inc. backed away from its bid to buy China's Yingde Gases Group Co.
In a brief securities filing Friday morning, the Allentown, Penn.-based company said that "it has determined it is not in the best interests of Air Products' shareholders to continue to pursue an acquisition" at this time. A representative from Yingde could not immediately be reached for comment.
Yingde's stock fell 4.4% to HK$6.26 in Hong Kong, while Air Products shares were inactive in premarket trading ahead of the opening in New York.
Air Products, in a nonbinding bid, had offered up to $1.5 billion for Yingde, a price that would have made a deal the largest takeover of a Chinese firm by an American buyer. After a year when Chinese companies bought record numbers of American firms, Air Products & Chemicals' offer was a rare shot for a U.S. company to get a big takeover in China.
The Wall Street Journal early last week reported that Air Products' might have to give up on making a deal. Hong Kong-based private-equity company PAG, led by seasoned deal maker Weijian Shan, swooped in with a rival bid, and Yingde's three biggest shareholders, owning around 42% of the company, agreed to accept the offer, unless there is a better bid. PAG offered six Hong Kong dollars a share for Yingde and its stock has been trading above that mark since the start of the month.
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