* Merck KGaA controls 81.3 pct of AZ Electronic Materials
* To de-list AZ shares in June, keeps offer open for now
* AZ takeover opens up Asia sales opportunities -CEO
(Adds CEO comment, background)
FRANKFURT, May 2 German chemicals and
pharmaceuticals company Merck KGaA said it had
completed its 1.9 billion euro ($2.6 billion) takeover of
Britain's AZ Electronic Materials, a move Merck expects
to boost its business in Asia.
Merck said in a statement on Friday it had 81.3 percent of
AZ under its control - passing the 75 percent threshold needed -
and expected to de-list the company from the London Stock
Exchange at the beginning of June.
AZ, which had sales of about 530 million euros in 2013,
generates the bulk of its revenue in Asia.
"With AZ, not only will we be able to further expand our
presence in the important Asian growth market, but we will also
be able to raise our exposure to exciting global megatrends in
electronic materials - from smart phones to the most advanced
computing devices," Merck Chief Executive Karl-Ludwig Kley said
in the statement.
AZ's chief executive Geoff Wild will stay with the company
to help with the integration into Merck's Performance Materials
division, Merck said, adding that AZ would be operated as a
separate business unit during the integration.
The world's largest maker of liquid crystals used in TVs and
tablet and smartphone screens, Merck agreed in December to buy
AZ for $2.6 billion to expand its range of specialist chemicals
for hi-tech gadgets.
Merck gained antitrust clearances in the United States,
Japan, Taiwan, Germany and China.
The company had extended its offer seven times while waiting
for approval for the deal from competition authorities in China.
That approval finally came on Wednesday.
Merck said it still intended to acquire all outstanding
shares of AZ and would keep its offer open until further notice.
($1 = 0.7212 Euros)
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; editing by Jason Neely and Elaine