German gas supplier Linde (FRA: LIN) and its US counterpart Praxair (NYSE: PX) have reached an agreement on the details of their all-stock merger of equals, creating a combined company worth more than €61 billion. There is still a long way to go before the deal can close, as the tie-up, first announced in December, has met with fierce resistance from German workers and unions.
Citing potential job losses and the displacement of Linde's headquarters to Ireland, with operations to be run out of Danbury, CT, by Praxair CEO Steve Angel, labour reps on Linde's board vowed to vote against a deal in March. And their objections to the deal have remained a sticking point. Linde's supervisory board will reportedly vote on the merger agreement next week, with its chairman Wolfgang Reitzle telling Reuters he would cast a tie-breaking vote as in favour of the deal if a stalemate is reached.