AkzoNobel merger with PPG needs to be considered, even as a Plan B, urge investors

Oliver Gill
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AkzoNobel has rejected two takeover offers from US firm PPG

Investors have pleaded with the management of AkzoNobel to listen to them and engage in takeover talks with US rival PPG.

Activist investor Elliott, one of the leading voices calling for the Dulux-owner to engage with PPG, released research that indicated nearly all respondents want AkzoNobel sit down with its would-be suitor.

Shareholders have been left scratching their heads at the reticence of the Dutch firm's management to not at least listen to the approaches of the US firm.

Read more: AkzoNobel paints long-term picture to win over unhappy investors

Hot on the heels of the research came an open letter from analysts from fund manager Alliance Bernstein.

Jeremy Redenius, a senior analyst with asset manager said the latest €90 per share offer was "considerably higher" than its valuation of the firm. Redenius added:

Over your entire tenure at AkzoNobel, I have argued AkzoNobel’s shares have been undervalued. In our December 2013 Blackbook, I even wrote the shares could be worth €100 in a 'bull case'. Unfortunately, despite your successful performance improvement drive, I fear the stand-alone value of AkzoNobel falls short of PPG’s offer.

AkzoNobel said on Tuesday it will update investors on 19 April with a plan to maximise shareholder value. The plan included splitting the firm in two.

Meanwhile, Elliott said between now and the investor update AkzoNobel should also explore a Plan B of a tie-up with PPG.

Read more: Shareholders join forces to demand AkzoNobel takeover talks

It wrote: "The upcoming three weeks are therefore the appropriate time for Akzo Nobel to sincerely engage with PPG so that a fair and objective evaluation of the two alternatives can be conducted.

"Akzo Nobel should immediately enter into negotiations with PPG and carefully evaluate what PPG is willing to offer in a friendly transaction against Akzo Nobel’s standalone strategic alternatives."

Elliott's research was prepared by Boudicca Proxy Consultants. It received responses from institutions representing 24.6 per cent of share capital. Some 94.1 per cent of these respondents felt AkzoNobel should engage with PPG.

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