Monster merger making mega-brand: Who’s going to calm the masses

Steve’s breakdown: DuPont & Dow Chemical are now DowDuPont. Not sure how they are handling it because, frankly, this merger freaks me out and they’ll probably need to manage that situation.

WILMINGTON, DE & MIDLAND, MI: DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co., rival developers of plastics, pesticides, explosives, and other useful and dangerous-to-make materials — combine Thursday into one big global corporation, DowDuPont. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange as DWDP beginning Friday, cramming into DuPont’s old spot in the Dow Jones industrial average, next to Apple, ExxonMobil, and Wal-Mart.

Staff at some offices will gather for “town hall” talks to review their realignment. But there are no plans to hang signs mashing the Dow diamond with the DuPont oval, and executives won’t speed to New York to ring the stock market bell, or hold public ceremonies at the now-co-headquarters. This is a temporary marriage of convenience, with a goal of tax and cost savings, faster product development and sales, higher profits and shareholder payouts — and then a planned breakup, into at least three independent companies, over the next 18 months.

Dow contributes two-thirds of the combined $77 billion in yearly sales, and more than half of the 100,000 employees and $150 billion in market value, but the companies call this a “merger of equals,” with eight directors from each side on the combined board. That allows the bosses to do their spin-offs without paying income tax on sales proceeds — “very, very tax-efficient and one of the reasons we are doing it this way,” as DuPont chief executive Edward Breen told shareholders when he announced the deal in December 2015.


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