PHILADELPHIA—The first true test of Armstrong World Industries' legal challenges against a pair of European vinyl flooring competitors may come as soon as Sept. 9.
A U.S. District Court in Philadelphia has set a preliminary hearing that day on Armstrong's request for a preliminary injunction barring the proposed merger of Tarkett AG of Frankenthal, Germany, and the vinyl flooring operations of Sommer Allibert of Paris.
Armstrong alleges Sommer used confidential information from failed negotiations with Armstrong to craft a later deal with Tarkett. A Sommer-Tarkett union would create a close rival to Armstrong's $1 billion vinyl flooring business.
Armstrong also initiated legal and regulatory actions in Quebec in an attempt to wrest control of Domco Inc. of Farnham, Quebec, from Sommer before it becomes part of the proposed Sommer-Tarkett venture.
Meanwhile Domco Chairman Robert VanBuren, in a July 10 letter, urged stockholders not to act hastily on Armstrong's offer for C$23 (US$16.72) per share for Domco. Domco's share prices have hovered just above C$18 (US$13.08) on the Montreal and Toronto stock exchanges.
Armstrong is hoping to gain 51 percent of Domco's stock by buying out its minority shareholders, and by urging Domco's board to sell enough new shares to Armstrong for it to overcome Sommer's current stake of 69 percent.