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Dow Chemical's CEO Is 'Pretty Confident' the DuPont Deal Will Happen

July 27, 2016 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated April 29, 2020 18:08 PM UTC

Andrew Liveris explains the future of Dow DuPont.

Andrew, let's get an update on this historic merger between Dow Chemical and Dupont. So you've already gotten shareholder approval. So that's great. And the next step is getting approval from the regulators, both in Europe and the United States. What are you expecting? Well, we still expect to see the merger to close by year end. And that's US and Europe, of course, are key jurisdictions, as is China and a few other countries around the world. But so far, so good. And the shareholder vote being so positive from both companies is a great step forward, as you said. But what's the chances that you don't get the OK from regulators? After all, this $130 billion deal, it's big and regulators have been getting tougher and tougher on these big mergers because they're worried they're anti-competitive. Yeah, embedded in your question is the answer. It's not a $130 billion status quo. It's $130 billion that'll split into three. So you go into the regulator with remedy, if you like. So it's not got that big monolithic, oligopolistic look to it that other deals might have. And I'm still pretty confident that it's not risk free. Nothing is. But this deal will close. You do the big merger, and then shortly after that, you're going to split into three separate companies. What are the benefits of that? The synergies of coming together, a powerful $3 billion a year, the ability to actually rearrange these assets without any tax leakage, and to do all this with no premium. When you buy a company, you're paying a big premium normally. We're not doing any of that. So the shareholder benefits, win-win-win. And then the employees, they benefit by being in three growth companies. As you know, Dow and Dupont are famous for all the innovations they've done in this past century. So is there a risk that as you divide up into these separate companies, that you're not going to have that innovative edge? Absolutely totally not. In fact, growth is the driver here. The ag company will grow, the materials company will grow, the specialty company will grow. And actually, the ability to allocate resources to a few key markets, like the ones I just mentioned to grow, is one of the premises of the deal. So the innovation engine should become better, faster, more agile, more adaptive. And the culture should be synonymous with the growth industry that these are aligned to. But one could say that in this time where every company is talking about being disrupted or being a disruptor, that you want to pour all your money in as much as you can into your research and development, rather than cutting it back and dividing it up between separate companies. Actually, that's what tech startups do. They start in a niche and scale. OK? Think of us as new startups. We're actually becoming more agile, more entrepreneurial in fewer spaces by going deeper. Because we're bigger, we can scale up. You have said that this deal is going to be revolutionary for your industry. What's the most revolutionary thing that's going to come out of it? It's revolutionary because the chemical industry has over the last 20, 30 years been commoditized and actually been bought and sold many times because it's not doing R&D. We're remaking the entire sector by saying agriculture is over here. The specialty is over here. The materials are over here. It's a rebuilding of the sector, if you like, almost a reinvention of the sector.