Dow Chemical’s merger with DuPont has been cleared by antitrust authorities around the world, and DowDuPont will soon be a reality. But the new firm will occupy a top slot in future C&EN rankings for only a year or so. DowDuPont will split into three separate firms—in agricultural chemicals, specialty products, and material science—18 months after the merger is complete. Meanwhile, an old Dow antagonist, activist investor Daniel S. Loeb, has resurfaced. His hedge fund, Third Point, has picked apart the DowDuPont split-up scheme. Some of its critiques are minor. For instance, it says Dow’s food ingredients business should dovetail with DuPont’s food-related business in the specialty products firm instead of going to the material science company. Others are bigger. Loeb thinks silicones, the old Dow Corning business earmarked for the material science firm, would be better off in specialty products. Third Point opines that the specialty products company could eventually be broken into four stand-alone firms making silicones, electronic materials, nutritional ingredients, and specialty materials. After the prodding, Dow and DuPont hired the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to give the breakup plan a second look.
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