Air Products' Pursuit of Airgas (A)

Citation:

Wang, Charles C.Y., Paul M. Healy, Penelope Rossano, and Kyle Thomas. “Air Products' Pursuit of Airgas (A).” Harvard Business School Case 116-024, 2015.

Abstract:

This case centers around the Air Products' hostile takeover attempt of Airgas in 2010. Air Products argued that its offer of a 38% premium is generous given Airgas' poor performance, which Air Products attributed to underperforming and entrenched managers at Airgas. On the other hand, Airgas' management argued that the company's recent struggles are cyclical and that Air Products' offer grossly undervalues Airgas' long-run potential. How might Airgas' management credibly communicate its conviction to shareholders? Should Airgas shareholders side with Air Products and accept a certain short term return, or should they side with Airgas' management and accept an uncertain but potentially higher long-term outcome? How should the Airgas board balance its responsibilities to short-term versus long-term shareholders?