Dow-DuPont shareholders approve $59 billion merger

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Shareholders of Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. approved the companies’ historic merger Wednesday morning, clearing a hurdle for the deal to close this year and for a later split into three entities.

Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical is the parent company of Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences, which has about 1,500 area employees. In February, the companies said that Wilmington, Delaware, will be the headquarters for their combined agricultural business, but that Indianapolis will be one of its two “global business centers.”

Majorities of both sets of stockholders approved the 50-50 combination of the two largest U.S. chemical makers, the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday. The $59 billion all-stock transaction, a record for the industry, was announced Dec. 11.

DuPont Chairman and CEO Ed Breen will serve as CEO of DowDuPont Inc., the name of the combined entity. His counterpart at Dow, Andrew Liveris, will be chairman.

Both companies are eliminating thousands of jobs as they cut billions of dollars in expenses, with another $3 billion of cost savings promised after the deal closes. DowDuPont is supposed to split into three by the end of 2018, creating separate companies focused on agriculture, specialty products and materials science.

The companies’ next hurdle is winning antitrust clearance. The U.S. Justice Department in February issued a second request for information on the combination, launching an in-depth probe. Dow and DuPont notified China’s competition agency of the deal in May and they filed with the European Commission last month.

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