W.R. Grace shareholders approve $4.6 billion acquisition of specialty chemicals giant by New York company

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Shareholders of W.R. Grace & Co. approved a deal Friday for a New York building materials company to acquire the Columbia-based specialty chemicals giant for $4.6 billion.

W.R. Grace had announced the all-cash deal with an affiliate of Standard Industries Holdings in April.

Shareholders approved the merger during a special meeting Friday. Standard will acquire all outstanding shares of Grace common stock for $70 each.

More than 99% of votes were cast in favor of the merger. Those votes represented about 70% of shares of common stock issued and outstanding as of the close of business on Aug. 9.

“We thank Grace shareholders for their strong support of this value-creating transaction, which is in the best interest of Grace and our customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders,” said Hudson La Force, Grace’s president and CEO, in an announcement Friday.

La Force said Grace will be better positioned as part of Standard Industries to offer customers innovative technologies.

The transaction is expected to be finalized Sept. 22. Grace will become a privately held, stand-alone company within Standard’s portfolio, which includes businesses such as GAF, BMI Group, Schiedel, Siplast, SGI and GAF Energy. Grace’s common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Grace’s headquarters will remain in Columbia, where it employs about 600 people. The company, which has about 4,300 workers in total, also employs about 550 more workers at a plant in Curtis Bay, which makes catalysts and silicas used to produce fuel, plastics, food, beverages, coatings and pharmaceuticals.

Earlier this month, Standard appointed Bhavesh V. (Bob) Patel, CEO of Dutch chemical company LyondellBasell, to become Grace’s new CEO starting in January.

Grace had rejected an initial unsolicited bid of $60 per share last year. Standard its offer in January to $65 per share, or $4.3 billion, before raising its offer a final time to $70 a share in April.

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