DuPont Co is planning to sell a business making herbicides to help reduce potential antitrust sticking points to a $59 billion merger with U.S. competitor Dow Chemical Co., according to people with knowledge of the situation. Evercore Partners Inc. has been hired as an adviser for the sale, which is expected to generate several hundred million dollars, said the people, who asked not to be identified because details are private. Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont is also considering the disposal of insecticide and seeds units that might be an obstacle to the deal going ahead, they said. A spokesman for DuPont declined to comment. A representative of New York-based Evercore had no immediate comment. Evercore, the mergers and acquisitions advisory firm founded by Roger Altman, has appointed bankers from Deutsche Bank AG and Jefferies Group LLC to expand its chemical practice. The company advised DuPont on its successful battle with activist investor Trian Fund Management.
A host of competitors, from BASF SE to FMC Corp., and private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners LP are monitoring opportunities to pick up assets as the biggest-ever wave of consolidation in the agrochemical and seeds business spurs antitrust reviews and forced sales. Dow and DuPont are pushing to complete their planned combination by year-end. Rather than combine the smaller units into one package, DuPont is looking at individual sales, said the people. For its part, Dow is selling a unit making copolymers used in food packaging, according to people familiar with the matter.