Dow Chemical vs. Dan Loeb Fight Heats Up

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The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) has officially rejected activist investor Dan Loeb’s suggestion that it sell off its petrochemical business. According to The Street, the company said an internal review indicated that selling that part of its business would reduce its overall value.

Loeb chips away at Dow Chemical

Last month, Loeb’s Third Point firm disclosed that it held a major stake in The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW). The firm did not say how big the sake is, although some have reported that the firm has sunk $1.3 billion into buying up its shares. Dow’s market capitalization is approximately $55.3 billion.

This week The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) included an addendum in the presentation it gives to investors at the end of the year. The company said that its board of directors and external advisors determined that Loeb’s suggestion would have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line because it would cut some benefits from having cross-platform technology and some economies of scale.

Dow did not specifically mention Dan Loeb or Third Point, but the intention behind the addendum was clear. On Wednesday, Loeb said they would be interested in signing a non-disclosure agreement so that they could talk over the issue with Dow and talk about the analysis which resulted in the company’s conclusions.

Dow Chemical continues to restructure

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) also said this week that it would continue with its restructuring plans. Back in 2008, the company began to dump units with lower margins and focus on specialty materials which sell for higher prices. It paid $18.8 billion to acquire Rohm and Haas Co. Since then, the company has also been looking into some potential separations for some of its units. In December, Dow Chemical reportedly hired bankers to sell off its chlorine operations. In addition, the company has been shuttering plants and cutting jobs.

The company’s goal has been to transition “from a commodity-based model into a vertically integrated science company focused on specialty materials, agriculture and specialty plastics,” according to its regulatory filing. It indicates that it has made progress and believes it is following the right strategy. However, Loeb said in his January letter than the strategy was the wrong one.

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