Blackstone Capital Partners, a New York investment firm, has made an offer to buy German chemicals maker Celanese AG for 3.1 billion euros ($3.8 billion).
The deal would include Ticona, the technical polymers business of Frankfurt-based Celanese. Ticona ranks as the world's largest acetal maker and also produces other engineering resins.
In the deal, Blackstone would pay 32.50 euros ($40) per share for outstanding Celanese stock. That offer is 13 percent higher that the stock's weighted average over the last three months.
The deal also includes Blackstone taking on about 1.4 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in Celanese pensions, debt and other obligations.
``Blackstone believes that taking Celanese private will provide the company with increased flexibility to more actively pursue its strategic objectives,'' Blackstone President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman said in a Dec. 16 news release.
Celanese management is supporting the deal, saying it ``highlights [their] concept of value creation.''
``Blackstone's offer gives our strategy a broader financial basis,'' Celanese Chairman Claudio Sonder said at a Dec. 16 news conference. ``Blackstone supports our strategy and future plans.''
In the first nine months of 2003, Celanese sales were flat vs. the same period in 2002 at about 3.3 billion euros ($4.1 billion). But the firm's profit increased almost 20 percent to 116 million euros ($143 million) in the same comparison.
Ticona ranked third among Celanese's five units in that period with sales of 548 million euros ($675 million). The unit's nine-month operating profit more than tripled to 118 million euros ($145 million), but most of that gain came from a special charge and not from organic growth.
Blackstone controls a portfolio valued at $14 billion. Its plastics-related holdings include a majority stake in Graham Packaging Co. LP, a major processor based in York, Pa. Late last year, Blackstone also bought the automotive business of TRW Inc.