Huntsman’s break-up payday

December 15, 2008

BOLIVIA DOLLARTo terminate its $6.5 billion deal to buy Huntsman, Apollo Management’s Hexion Specialty Chemicals had to cough up $1 billion in fees and charges. This follows the long-awaited collapse of the private equity bid for Canada’s BCE last week, which cost buyers C$1.2 billion in break-up charges.

Hexion agreed to buy Huntsman in July 2007. The deal faltered amid the credit crisis. Apollo tried to walk away, citing insolvency concerns about the combined company.

But with a hefty break-up fee in its pocket – almost as much as its diminished $1.4 billion market cap – Huntsman is looking to settle what could be an even bigger score.

Huntsman sued twice over the deal – once in Delaware to force Hexion to go through with it, and once in Texas alleging that Hexion’s bid scared off another potential suitor, Basell.

The Texas suit could feature a big pay-off. Given its record so far is 1-0, and the Lone Star state is known for its plaintiff-friendly juries, Huntsman can be forgiven for looking to the courts for a little confidence. It isn’t getting much from the market. Huntsman shares sank 17 percent in premarket trade Monday.

Deals of the day:

* ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, said it sold part of its stake in German plate mill Dillinger Huette for 777 million euros ($1.03 billion).

* Energy services firm Hunting said it completed the delayed sale of its Canadian oil and gas division for C$1.26 billions ($1 billion) and would step up its search for acquisitions with the proceeds.

* Macquarie Group, Australia’s biggest investment bank, plans to set up a joint venture with China’s Hengtai Securities in a move aimed at boosting its business in the country’s capital markets, a source said.

* Fidelity Investments has put its Indian captive technology offshore unit up for sale and possible suitors include Indian and global outsourcing firms, the Economic Times reported citing two sources involved in the deal.

* British defense company Ultra Electronics has bought Siemens Radmon, a unit of the German engineering group that monitors radiation for the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet, for about 5 million pounds ($7.5 million).

* Vishal Retail is not considering any stake sale, a senior official said, denying a newspaper report that the discount retailer was in talks to bring in investors.

* Finnish telecom software firm Tecnomen Oyj said it had agreed to buy 96.6 percent of smaller Indian rival Lifetree Convergence Ltd. for 33.2 million euros ($44 million) in cash and shares.

* Seismic survey group CGGVeritas offered to buy all remaining shares in Wavefield Inseis after a bid for its Norwegian rival won acceptance from shareholders with 69.7 percent of stock.

* Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre confirmed it was in talks with UNIFI Asia Holdings about buying a 50 percent stake in Yihua Unifi Fibre Industry Co Ltd.

* Mega Financial, Taiwan’s No.2 state-controlled financial holding firm, is considering reviving its plan to acquire smaller rival Taiwan Business Bank, a finance ministry official said.

* Insurance firms Prudential Financial and MetLife have submitted separate bid proposals for South Korean insurer Kumho Life Insurance, Kumho’s parent group said.

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