LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. (

TheStreet

) --

Air Products

(APD) - Get Report

has launched a hostile offer for

Airgas

(ARG)

at $60 a share after its friendly bids were rejected.

The offer expires on April 9.

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"It is unfortunate that the Airgas board continues to just say no" to the offer of $60 a share, Air Products said in a statement Thursday. Air Products added: "This continuing refusal to discuss our compelling all-cash premium offer has left us with no alternative but to take the offer directly to Airgas shareholders."

Airgas earlier this week

rejected

a $5.1 billion unsolicited takeover offer from Air Products saying the bid "very significantly undervalues" the company. Air Products also would assume about $1.9 billion in debt under its offer.

A combination of the two companies would create the largest industrial gas company in North America and one of the largest in the world.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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