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Dow and DuPont inch closer to merger approval

DELAWARE (From the Houston Business Journal) -- The Dow Chemical Co., based in Michigan, and Delaware-based DuPont are nearing the end of the regulatory approval process for their upcoming merger into DowDuPont, and the companies are now targeting a second-quarter closing date.

The closing date was supposed to be in the second half of 2016, according to the Dow press release that originally announced the deal. The companies both have offices in Houston.

"We're probably at the tail end, we think -- we hope -- with the regulatory approval of the European Commission," said Doug May, Dow's hydrocarbon business president, in an interview.

May said that approval is expected by the end of the month, while other major regulatory hurdles -- in U.S., China and Brazil -- to follow relatively soon afterward.

"To be clear, we don't control the timing of these regulatory bodies, but that's our best guess," May said.

The merger was originally announced toward the end of 2015, making this process an unusually long one as far as mergers go. That's at least partly because of the scale of the merger and the number of jurisdictions it falls into, May said. The market capitalization of the combined company post-merger is expected to come in around $130 billion, Dow said in the original release.

DuPont has already seen some employment cuts as a result of the merger, and Dow's president, chairman and CEO, Andrew Liveris, said on his company's fourth-quarter earnings call in January that the deal would mean a reduction in headcount, though he pointed out that longer-term plans involve growth.

The companies plan to spin off into three independent, public companies after the merger.

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