BASF is once again the largest chemical company in the world. But Dow Chemical and DuPont expect to merge next month. With combined 2016 sales of nearly $68 billion, the merged firms will likely edge out the German chemical giant. BASF’s management doesn’t seem to feel pressured to react. Last year’s $3.2 billion purchase of the Chemetall metal surfaces business from Albemarle wasn’t small change, but it was no blockbuster deal either. Last November, BASF Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock told a small gathering of reporters he didn’t want to make acquisitions merely for the sake of getting bigger. Indeed, Bock has been discriminating. Analysts had expected BASF to buy agricultural businesses that are divested so that the big mergers—such as Dow/DuPont and Bayer/Monsanto—can pass regulatory hurdles. But the company passed on picking up the large piece of DuPont’s agrochemicals unit that ultimately went to FMC.
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