Will the largest merger in the history of the aggregates industry collapse…and what will happen if it does?

Is the largest potential deal in aggregates industry history—a merger between Swiss-based Holcim and French-based Lafarge—really at risk?

A day after reports surfaced that billionaire investor Thomas Schmidheiny, who holds a 20 percent interest in Holcim, was souring on the deal, BloombergBusiness quoted Schmidheiny spokesperson Joerg Denzler as saying that “the industrial logic of the deal is undisputed.”

At question in the merger is a growing gap in performance. Initially structured to be a 1:1 share exchange, strong performance by Holcim and currency movements have raised Holcim’s value to nearly $25 billion. Lafarge is currently valued at just over $20 billion. Accordingly, the original terms of the agreement are now less favorable to Holcim shareholders, a number of whom have been anonymously sourced as wanting more favorable terms that better reflect current market conditions.

Whether or not a change in terms is addressed, Schmidheiny’s statement eased the concerns of Lafarge investors. After shares dropped 3.1 percent, they improved by 2 percent.

Schmidheiny’s statement also acknowledges the importance of closing the deal for both Holcim and Lafarge, because if the deal fails to close, the market capitalization of each company will decrease due to anticipated cost savings not being realized.

Another company to consider is CRH. Since it was announced that CRH would acquire the assets divested by Holcim-Lafarge, CRH’s shares have risen dramatically. A failed Holcim-Lafarge merger would likely hurt CRH’s market standing. On the other hand, a failed Holcim-Lafarge merger would leave CRH, long the most acquisitive company in the industry, with a large amount of capital to invest, which could prove to be a catalyst for industry merger and acquisition activity worldwide.

According to BloombergBusiness, Holcim shareholders are expected to vote on the merger “in the first half after the company’s annual meeting due April 13.”

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