NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Three Airgas Inc ARG.N board members disagreed with the board that the company was worth a minimum $78 a share, a court filing shows, adding a new twist to the industrial gas company’s takeover battle with rival Air Products & Chemicals Inc (APD.N).
The directors, who were backed by Air Products in their bid to join the board earlier this year, challenged company statements this month that that board was unanimous in setting a $78-per-share floor for a deal, according to a filing with the Chancery Court in Delaware.
Airgas declined to comment.
Air Products made its “best and final” offer on Thursday offering $70 per share and valuing Airgas at $5.9 billion. [ID:nN09252192]
The court filing quotes a letter three recently elected board members sent to Airgas Chairman John van Roden.
In their Dec 7 letter, John Clancey, Robert Lumpkins and Ted Miller say they agree with the board that a $65.50-per-share offer was inadequate. But they disagreed that $78 should be a minimum price.
“To be clear, at no time did any of us take the position that a $78 offer price was the price of admission to having any discussions with Air Products, nor did we agree that $78 was the minimum per-share price at which Airgas might be purchased,” the directors wrote.
On Friday, the directors denied there was division on the board, in response to a CNBC television report that they planned to challenge company statements. [ID:nN10126166]
Earlier this fall, Airgas shareholders voted by a narrow margin to oust the chairman and replace three members of the board with a new slate that favored Air Products’ bid. [ID:nN14275664] (Reporting by Nick Zieminski and Mike Erman; Editing by Jan Paschal)