Linde sells assets for $3.3 billion to help get Praxair deal cleared

FILE PHOTO: Linde Group logo is seen at a company building in Munich-Pullach, Germany August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde LING.DE is raising $3.3 billion from selling North and South American assets to a consortium of German gases firm Messer and buyout group CVC as it seeks clearance for a planned $87 billion merger with U.S. group Praxair PX.N.

The German company announced last week it was in advanced talks with Messer and CVC over the sale of a majority of its gases business in North America and certain Linde and Praxair assets in South America.

Reuters reported last week that the European Commission was set to give its blessing to the tie-up after an in-depth antitrust review and following the agreed sale of Praxair's European gases business to Japanese rival Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp 4091.T.

The planned combination in an all-shares merger, agreed in principle in December 2016, would create a global leader in gas distribution ahead of France's Air Liquide AIRP.PA.

The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. and regulators in some other countries have yet to rule on the deal.

In the race for the U.S. assets, the CVC-Messer alliance beat out financial investor Carlyle, which was seen as a frontrunner in June, when Reuters flagged a likely $3.3 billion price tag.

Messer and CVC confirmed the deal in a separate statement, saying their joint venture would be dubbed MG Industries.

Messer would transfer its western European operations - accounting for 334 million euros ($391 million) of 1.23 billion euros of Messer’s group sales - into the new entity.

Additional reporting by Joern Poltz in Munich; Editing by Arno Schuetze/Keith Weir