* Ruling date not set in stone - judge
* Ruling had been expected as early as Thursday
NEW YORK, Jan 27 A Delaware judge is expected
rule Feb. 8 on Airgas Inc's ARG.N use of a poison pill to
ward off a $5.9 billion hostile takeover offer from Air
Products and Chemicals Inc (APD.N), according to a source
familiar with the matter.
The ruling from Delaware Chancellor William Chandler had
been expected as soon as Thursday, when a second round of
hearings in the long-running case ended.
Chandler said he expects to rule Feb. 8, but noted that
date is not set in stone.
The source is not authorized to speak on the record.
Chandler first held hearings on the poison pill last fall,
but scheduled a second round of hearings for this week to
gather more material for his final ruling. [ID:nN23159728]
The ruling is expected to have wide-ranging implications on
the use of poison pills in other acquisition battles.
A poison pill effectively lets shareholders increase the
total share count at a discount to ward off a potential
Shares of Airgas rose 0.5 percent to $62.26 in afternoon
trading, while shares of Air Products fell 0.55 percent to
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, editing Bernard Orr)