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Airgas, Inc., large distributor of safety products, faces hostile takeover bid (2/9)

Airgas, Inc., one of the nation’s largest distributors of safety products and the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, has confirmed that it has received an unsolicited proposal from Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE: APD) (“Air Products”) to acquire the company for $60.00 per share.

In a press statement, the company said Airgas’ board of directors will review the proposal with its financial and legal advisors. Airgas shareholders are advised to take no action at this time.

More than 14,000 Airgas employees work in over 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities, and distribution centers. Third quarter 2009 sales were $942 million, a decline of 13% from the prior year.

The company noted that in December 2009 Airgas received a cash and stock proposal from Air Products with an implied value of $62 per share, and that in October 2009 Airgas received an all-stock proposal from Air Products with an implied value of $60 per share. Airgas’ Board of Directors, after consultation with its financial and legal advisors, unanimously determined that Air Products’ proposals were not in the best interests of Airgas or its shareholders, as they grossly undervalued Airgas. In responding to the proposal received in December, the Board also noted that a significant portion of the consideration was in the form of Air Products stock, which has historically underperformed Airgas stock.

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