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Apollo's Hexion Increases Offer for Huntsman

Apollo's Hexion Increases Offer for Huntsman

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Apollo Management LP's Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc. said Monday it raised its rival takeover bid for chemical company Huntsman Corp. to about $6.2 billion.

Hexion raised its bid even though the Huntsman board had said it appeared its earlier offer was superior to one that Huntsman had already accepted from the Dutch company Basell.

On Monday, Hexion said it was offering $28 per share in cash, up from its previous bid of $27.25 per share, or about $6 billion overall based on Huntsman's 221.9 million outstanding shares.

Huntsman's board said Friday it considered the earlier Hexion offer to be superior to a $25.25-per-share, or $5.6 billion, proposal it previously accepted from Basell, a Dutch holding of U.S. industrialist Len Blavatnik's Access Industries.

But Huntsman said Friday its board had not yet agreed to the Hexion proposal, nor changed its recommendation regarding the Basell agreement.

Hexion said Friday that Huntsman notified Basell it will continue to recommend the current deal to shareholders for three business days but may change its recommendation if Basell does not raise its offer. Basell has until the close of business Tuesday to sweeten its bid.

Huntsman's buyer will assume about $4 billion in debt. The company is based in Salt Lake City but operates from the Houston area.

Fortune magazine lists Huntsman's annual revenue at $13.1 billion. Hexion is listed as the 16th-largest chemical company with revenue of $5.2 billion.

Huntsman shares rose 25 cents to $28.25 in morning trading after briefly rising to a new 52-week high of $28.40.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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