Linde Considers Additional US Asset Sales to Salvage $47 Bln Praxair Deal

Linde AG is considering the sale of additional US assets, which will mark a near exit from industrial gas operations in the country and an 11th hour attempt to salvage its $47 billion merger with Praxair (PX), Bloomberg reported Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The decision to sell the onsite and specialty gas businesses has not yet been finalized, and will require approval from the supervisory board of Linde, the sources said. According to one of the people, CVC Capital Partners and Messer Group GmbH will be interested in buying the assets.

Linde has already agreed to sell a $3.3 billion package of North American assets, including its US bulk business, to CVC and Messer. The additional businesses that are being considered for sale cover plants built at oil refineries to supply hydrogen to make low-sulfur fuel. The merged entity would still have Praxair assets in the United States.

The move to sell even more businesses comes as Linde attempts to salvage a deal that has been at least two years in the making and now faces the possibility of collapsing. Linde and Praxair were caught off guard by a notice from the Federal Trade Commission in the US to sell more assets in order to receive antitrust approval even after the agreement for roughly $9 billion worth of disposals in Europe and North America.