Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Pickup Game

So much for the dog days of summer. This is turning out to be an extraordinary season for the industry. Three deals have eclipsed the $10-billion mark so far, and there have been a scattering of billion-dollar transactions. Sabic, Apollo Management (New York), and Access Industries (New York)—industry’s emerging heavy hitters—have recently agreed to acquire GE Plastics, Huntsman, and Lyondell, respectively, in separate deals valued at more than $10 billion each. Akzo Nobel soon could join that once-exclusive club, if it decides to press ahead with a formal bid for ICI.
Could Sabic, Apollo, Access and perhaps others have designs on creating a chemical industry Champions League this summer, with plans to keep acquiring available industry assets until no one is left on the sidelines? More seriously, one wonders what will bring an end to this activity. Will activity moderate, or will there be some industry or macro mega-event—along the lines of a default that further spooks the bond markets, or something like the late-1990s Asian currency crisis—that shuts down activity.


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