Akzo Nobel continues in acquisition bid for ICI

Netherlands-based coatings company Akzo Nobel is growing closer to acquiring Imperial Chemical Industries, the coatings giant known as ICI Paints.

ICI, with a corporate parent based in the United Kingdom, has a large North American presence with brands including Dulux, Glidden and Liquid Nails. The company was number 16 on HCN’s Top 500 list of home channel retailers, following estimated 2006 sales at ICI’s retail stores of $1.8 billion.

Akzo has upped its bid for ICI to about $16 billion (8 billion pounds) and, in recent weeks, has expressed confidence in receiving shareholder backing for the bid. According to Bloomberg, Akzo Nobel spokesman Tim van der Zanden said this week, “We are convinced that we will get the backing of our shareholders at a meeting at the end of October. We have already been on a mini-roadshow.”

Some shareholders reportedly like the new deal, which sets a per-share price that is more than 20 percent higher than ICI’s stock was worth on June 15. But at least one investment firm criticized the proposal -- United States-based TPG-Axon, which owns a 3.5 percent stake in Akzo Nobel, reportedly called the deal “overpriced” and said it would lead to lower value for Akzo Nobel’s own stock.

If the acquisition comes to fruition, ICI will sell its U.S. National Starch Unit to Henkel, a German detergent maker.

In June, the U.K. Takeover Panel ordered Akzo Nobel to make a formal bid for ICI. Prior to that, Akzo Nobel made an informal bid of $14.2 billion for the paint giant. In May, ICI announced plans to delist from the New York Stock Exchange in a bid to save about $8 million. ICI sells paint in Europe, the Americas and in the Asia-Pacific region.

Akzo manufactures paints and coatings under the names Crown, Sikken and Schoenox, among others, with operations in 60 countries.