Peace at last? AkzoNobel and Elliott agree three-month litigation truce after long-running takeover troubles

Rebecca Smith
Dulux owner Akzo has fought off several takeover attempts despite pressure from activist investor Elliott
Dulux owner Akzo has fought off several takeover attempts despite pressure from activist investor Elliott (Source: Getty)

Activist investor Elliott has finally reached an agreement in its long-running spat with AkzoNobel over a €27bn takeover approach from rival PPG Industries.

After a prolonged back and forth regarding the proposed takeover, including a new legal challenge to try and oust Akzo's chairman last month, the firms said they had struck a standstill agreement, to seek to suspend all ongoing litigation for at least three months".

Read more: AkzoNobel's embattled chairman announces intention to step down

The deal means Elliott will support the appointment of new chief executive Thierry Vanlancker as a member of the board at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting (EGM) planned for next month.

Akzo has announced two new nominations to its supervisory board, with Elliott supporting their appointment, and plans to nominate a third which will be done in consultation with the firm's major shareholders, including Elliott.

Antony Burgmans, chairman of the supervisory board of Akzo, said: "I am pleased our recent constructive discussions with Elliott improved understanding between both parties."

He added: "We look forward to a continued constructive relationship focused on creating value for all shareholders and other stakeholders. This agreement is fully in line with our ongoing programme to strengthen and maintain a constructive dialogue with all our shareholders."

Gordon Singer, Elliott's chief executive, said:

We believe AkzoNobel will benefit from the addition of the supervisory board nominees. Today’s agreement marks an important next step in positioning AkzoNobel for success and enabling the company to deliver compelling value to all its stakeholders.

In June, PPG said it will not make a fourth takeover for the Dulux owner after it was rebuffed three times. Under UK takeover rules, that means it will not be free to make another bid for at least six months.

But last month, Elliott announced it had applied for authorisation from the Dutch interim court to convene an EGM to vote out Akzo chairman Burgmans, perceived as a hindrance to the takeover. Later in July, Burgmans announced he would step down as chairman.

Read more: Activist investor Elliott has another go at AkzoNobel after being stood up

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