Dow execs admit planning $50bn LBO

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dow

US-based Dow Chemical has reached a settlement in a long running
court battle with two former executives who were involved in
unauthorized talks to sell the firm early last year.

In April 2007, Dow sacked its executive vice president of performance plastics and chemicals Romeo Kreinberg and J Pedro Reinhard, its former CFO, alleging that the pair had held talks about a potential $50bn (€32bn) buyout plan with investors from Oman without the board's knowledge. At the time, the pair denied any wrongdoing and issued countersuits seeking damages of $600m and $75m, respectively, on grounds of defamation and wrongful dismissal. These suits have now been dropped. According to a Dow statement issued on June 2, Reinhard and Kreinberg have now admitted taking part in discussions "which were not authorized by, nor disclosed to Dow's board concerning a potential LBO [leveraged buyout],"​ and acknowledged that it would have been appropriate to have informed the CEO and board of the talks. The firm added that the pair recognized that the company's subsequent actions were appropriate under the circumstances. While financial terms of the settlement are not being released, Dow's lead attorney, David Bernick, told CNNMoney​ that, "this was a very important piece of litigation for the company and for the board. The company is very pleased with the fact it has been resolved in this way​." Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said "I believe the events of the past year have done much to strengthen the connection we all feel between ethical business conduct, strong corporate governance and long-term success​," in a statement issued by the company. These thoughts were echoed by Dow spokesman Chris Huntley, who told Reuters​ that the firm is "pleased that this disappointing chapter in Dow's history is closed​," and that the "the board's swift and decisive response in April last year has been vindicated​." He also said that the settlement will see Kreinberg and Reinhard retain a portion of the long-term incentives they earned in the years prior to their dismissal, but declined to give further details. Outcome had been expected ​ Gene Pisasale, of PNC Wealth Management told Bloomberg​ that ``Dow probably had a fairly strong case, and top management wanted to move on as quickly as possible,''​ and that ``the market was sensing this outcome​.'' Dow's share price was down some $0.56, or 1.4 per cent, to $39.84 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange composite following announcement of the settlement.

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