Antitrust regulators clear Dow-Du Pont merger advised by big law firms

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A US$130bn merger between international conglomerates Dow Chemical and DuPont has cleared a major hurdle, as they obtained clearance from US Department of Justice antitrust officials on Thursday that permits the deal to push through.

The merger is on track to close by August this year, according to a joint statement by Dow and DuPont. Two of the nation’s largest international law firms are advising the deal.  Weil is advising Dow, while Skadden is acting for DuPont.

Authorities approved the merger, on the condition that DuPont divest certain parts of its crop protection portfolio, and Dow divest its global Ethylene Acrylic Acid copolymers and ionomers business.

The proposed agreement with the DOJ remains subject to court approval. No further approvals are required in the US for the merger to close. Dow and DuPont have also obtained clearance in other jurisdictions, including Europe, Brazil and China.

The Skadden team is led by corporate partners Brandon Van Dyke and Peter Allan Atkins, while their Weil counterparts are led by corporate chairman Michael Aiello, and M&A partners James Griffin and Sachin Kohli.

Dow and DuPont have been advised in the past by Weil, and Skadden, respectively. In 2013, Skadden acted on the spin-off of its chemicals segment, as well as the US$4.9bn sale of the conglomerate’s coating business to Carlyle in 2012.

In 2014, Weil obtained a victory for Dow in a dispute with Greenpeace. A US District of Columbia Appeals Court dismissed the environmental group’s claims that Dow engaged in illegal surveillance and stole information about Greenpeace’s investigation of the conglomerate.

Dow and DuPont are two of the world’s largest firms, with a combined US$73bn in sales in 2016. The “merger of equals” was first announced in 2015, as both firms said the combined company will be named DowDuPont. According to Weil, the parties intend to pursue a spin-off of three of its businesses – agriculture, material sciences and specialty products – following the merger.

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