Akzo Nobel (AKZOY) shares traded firmly higher in Amsterdam Thursday after a key investor pressed the group for refusing to meet with PPG Industries (PPG) - Get Report executives amid a tense $26 billion battle for the Dutch paints maker.
Elliot Capital Advisors, the U.K. arm of U.S.-based Elliot Management, urged CEO Ton Buchner to engage with his opposite number, PPG's Michael McGarry, who is in Amsterdam to push for a deal. Elliot Capital owns 3.25% of the equity interest in Akzo Nobel, according to The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) data.
"This would be an ideal opportunity for Mr. Buchner to explain the specific elements of shareholder and stakeholder value that he views as prerequisites for a friendly transaction, if any, between PPG and Akzo Nobel," Elliot said in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "The fact that Mr. Buchner has so far failed to take this opportunity to meet and engage with PPG is hard to reconcile with his fiduciary duties."
"Elliott further understands from its own conversations with shareholders, recently published Sanford Bernstein research, and the work of Elliott's own proxy solicitation advisor, that Akzo Nobel's shareholders advocate engagement by an overwhelming margin," the firm said. "Mr. Buchner claims to be talking to shareholders. But he is clearly not listening to shareholders."
Akzo shares were marked 2.2% higher by 15:00 CET, changing hands at €77.45 each and outpacing the 0.46% gain for the AMX benchmark. The stock has gained around 20% since PPG's first approach on March 9 and currently has a market value of €19.515 billion ($21 billion)
Earlier this week, Akzo Nobel rejected a second takeover approach that PPG says values the group at $26.3 billion.
Akzo calculated the revised bid on a dividend-adjusted basis of €88.72 per share (€56.22 in cash and 0.331 PPG shares) and said it does not "reflect the current and future value of AkzoNobel" and also "neglects to address the significant uncertainties and risks for shareholders and other stakeholders".
Akzo also said the revised offer fails to reflect the value creating opportunities of the new strategic plan focus for both the Specialty Chemicals and the Paints and Coatings businesses.
PPG calculated the revised bid without adjusting for a 2017 dividend (€57.5 in cash and 0.331 PPG shares), with a source telling TheStreet that this is a closer representation of the ultimate value of the offer.
Efforts have been further complicated by regional Dutch politicians, who have expressed concern with the takeover plans and the the 5,000 jobs they say could be at risk.