Platform Specialty Products has ended its attempts to sell its agrochemicals division after being unable to find a buyer who would meet the company's preferred valuation of $4.5 billion, according to Reuters. The chemicals corporation could reportedly pursue an IPO or spinoff of the unit instead; shares of Platform Specialty (NYSE: PAH) plunged nearly 5% on Friday.
The auction process that had played out in recent months enveloped several big names. Activist investor Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square own a reported 14.5% stake in the company, while Blackstone was at one point last month reported to be in "the final stages" of an attempt to buy the agrochemicals unit for $4.25 billion. CVC Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital are among the other PE firms that reportedly showed interest in the business.
In recent months, specialty chemicals businesses like the Platform Specialty unit have been an increasingly popular target of M&A in the US. Investors have completed 22 strategic acquisitions in the sector since the beginning of the year, per the PitchBook Platform. With four months to go, that already exceeds 2016's total of 17 and is the fourth-most of any year in the past decade.