Outlook: BOC talks better be more than hot air
Tuesday 22 June 1999
The interest this time lies not in the size of the chief executive's remuneration (handsome though that remains) but the future ownership of BOC now that the company is caught in the middle of a three-way tug-of- war.
In an industry where just four players account for nearly half the world market, it was inevitable that the prospect of those four being condensed into three or even two would set the sparks flying.
So it has proved. No sooner had BOC's merger talks with Praxair of the US leaked out than Air Liquide of France and Air Products, also of the US, were on the blower to Danny Rosenkrantz. We could not have had a better drama on our hands if his opposite number in Paris or Philadelphia was called Guildenstern.
There is nothing that an investment bank likes more than to get an auction going on behalf of its client. However, JP Morgan seems to have been a little over-enthusiastic in the case of BOC, playing the rival bidders off against each other with such gusto, that two of them, Air Liquide and Air Products, decided to get together to spike its guns.
This was not quite in Mr Rosenkrantz's script. The idea of being bought for cash by Air Liquide, but with him remaining as chief executive of the enlarged group, had obvious appeal. The prospect of a break-up bid involving both the French and Americans in which BOC and its executive management would be torn to bits to appease the regulators, was much less appetising.
Having put BOC into play, the market is now waiting for the end-game. Mr Rosenkrantz must pray there is one that involves BOC, otherwise its share price will drop like a stone and his life expectancy along with it.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...