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DOW DUPONT PROVIDE EU WITH ANTITRUST SOLUTIONS
Dow Jones reports:

Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. have offered to sell businesses to gain approval from the European Union's antitrust watchdog for their tie-up, a Dow spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The merger, announced in December 2015, would unite the two giants, creating a business with a combined market capitalization of roughly $120 billion, before splitting into three separate companies.

It has faced delays as antitrust regulators sought reams of information concerning the companies' competing businesses in insecticides, weedkillers and crop seeds. Dow and DuPont initially expected their deal to close late last year.

They now expect it to close in the first of half of this year, with the intended spin-offs taking place about 18 months later, the spokeswoman said.

As part of their remedy package submitted to the EU on Tuesday, the companies have offered to dispose of a portion of DuPont's crop protection business and associated research and development, as well as Dow's acid copolymers and ionomers business, the spokeswoman said.

"We have submitted a remedy package to the European Commission that maintains the strategic logic and value creation potential of the transaction for all stakeholders," the Dow spokeswoman said, adding that the companies were confident they would obtain clearance in all relevant jurisdictions.

The European Commission, the bloc's competition regulator, confirmed it had received the suggested remedies and that the deadline to conclude the review into the merger had been extended until April 4.

Asked Wednesday whether the package addresses the commission's concerns, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said she wouldn't take any final decisions before hearing the views of other market participants on the remedy package, known as a "market test."

"We will be market testing and in this case it is a signal that we think it is worthwhile market testing and that these remedies might work," Ms. Vestager said.

The companies had offered concessions last July, but the commission said those were "insufficient to clearly dismiss its serious doubts" about the merger. The EU opened an in-depth probe into the deal last August.

European regulators have focused on the deal's impact on the agricultural industry, losing a robust player with important research capabilities.

Dow and DuPont executives said in recent weeks their EU remedy package would involve some research and development commitments and potential divestitures in the companies' pesticide operations.

The commission is weighing the Dow-DuPont merger alongside other deals in the industry, including between China National Chemical Corp. and Syngenta AG and Bayer AG and Monsanto Co.

The combined company would have about $90 billion in total revenue, based on 2014 numbers, and products ranging from corn seeds to Kevlar fiber to foam chemicals used in sneaker soles. That behemoth would serve as a vehicle for cutting some $3 billion in costs before splitting into three separate businesses 18 to 24 months after the merger closes. Those companies, each to be publicly traded, would focus on agriculture, material sciences and specialty products in nutrition and electronics.


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