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DuPont to buy Rogers for $5.2 billion, divest part of mobility unit

DuPont de Nemours Inc. on Tuesday announced moves that would remake the chemicals company following years of subpar performance in its shares.

The company agreed to buy Rogers Corp., an electronics-materials specialist, for $5.2 billion. It also plans to divest a substantial portion of its unit specializing in materials used in the automotive industry. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the company was nearing the moves.

Together, the DuPont unit that the Rogers deal would expand and the mobility business account for roughly two-thirds of DuPont’s net sales, which last year were more than $20 billion.

DuPont, which has a market value of around $37 billion, has three divisions: electronics and industrials, mobility and materials, and water and protection.

Its products include construction materials such as Tyvek home wrap; fibers such as Kevlar, which is used in bulletproof vests; and materials used in electronic displays.

The electronics and industrials unit, which would be combined with Rogers, accounted for roughly one-third of the company’s $4.1 billion of net sales in the most recent quarter.

The mobility and materials unit, which plans to consider options such as a sale or spinoff, also accounts for roughly one-third of the company’s net sales.

DuPont emerged from the three-way breakup of DowDuPont Inc., which was formed by the merger of Dow and DuPont in 2015. DowDuPont’s materials-science business is now Dow Inc. and its agriculture operation is Corteva Inc.

The company in early 2020 brought back the chief architect of the megamerger and spinoff, Edward D. Breen, as its chief executive after the moves left the smaller industrial-materials maker struggling to generate sales growth. Mr. Breen said at the time the company didn’t meet expectations and needed to accelerate operational improvement.

As investors increasingly clamor for companies to be “fit and focused,” Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont has been taking steps to further streamline itself. Earlier this year, it closed a deal to combine its nutrition business with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., creating a top supplier of ingredients to U.S. food makers.

DuPont’s shares are still little-changed from where they were when it became a stand-alone company in 2019. The company has struggled with years of litigation relating to chemicals found in high levels in water systems near current and former manufacturing sites. Earlier this year, it agreed along with Corteva and the Chemours Co. to cover liabilities tied to the chemicals totaling as much as $4 billion in a complex cost-sharing arrangement.

Chandler, Ariz.-based Rogers specializes in making materials used in electronics, wireless infrastructure and other technology. The company has a market value of around $3.9 billion after its shares rose sharply in recent years.

Like DuPont, Rogers has remade itself: It was founded by Peter Rogers in 1832 as a paperboard manufacturer and evolved over the years into an electronics specialist, according to its website. Its shares were listed on the American Stock Exchange in 1960.

The moves would add to a brisk run for deal making this year, as companies seek to capitalize on easy access to cash and, in many cases, strong stock prices to beef up by combining with rivals. Private-equity firms have provided a major accelerant as they look to deploy a pile of cash they have raised in recent years and take advantage of historically low interest rates, as have special-purpose acquisition companies, which go public without a business and then look for one to join with.

U.S. companies have struck $2.2 trillion worth of deals so far this year, roughly double the total at this time last year.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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