Paint maker Akzo Nobel has confirmed it is in talks with US coatings company Axalta regarding a potential merger.
The Dutch group, which produces Dulux paint, said in a statement: "In response to market speculation, AkzoNobel confirms today it is currently in constructive discussions regarding a merger of the AkzoNobel Paints & Coatings business with Axalta. This will create a leading global paints & coatings company through a merger of equals."
The company added that its separation of specialty chemicals, including the "return of the vast majority of net proceeds to shareholders", remains on track for April 2018 and is unaffected by these discussions. Earlier this month it emerged that several of the world's largest private equity firms were preparing bids for the chemicals business.
Akzo has spent much of this year locked in a battle with activist investor Elliott, over the FTSE-listed group's decision to refuse a takeover approach from rival PPG Industries.