The board of directors of Huntsman, the large American chemical group known for its polyurethanes, had accepted a takeover offer from Basell, as reported in the previous issue of Shoe Intelligence. A few days later, however, another chemical group, Hexion made a higher offer for Huntsman at the equivalent of $10.4 billion. It proposed a purchase price of $27.25 a share against $25.25.

While declaring Hexion’s bid «superior,» Huntsman’s board gave Basell three days to make a higher offer, but Basell preferred to throw the towel and cash in a break-up fee of up to $200 million previously agreed in case of acceptance of another offer. Hexion was prepared to pay half of the fee.

Immediately after the loss of its bid for Huntsman, Basell made a more expensive offer of $19 billion for Lyondell, another American chemical group that is almost twice as big, and rather complementary in such areas as propylene.

Basell and Hexion are both controlled by investment funds, respectively Access Industries and Apollo Management. Access Industries is the investment vehicle of a Russian billionaire, Len Blavatnik. Basell previously tried to take over the plastics business of General Electric, which subsequently fell into Saudi Arabian hands.