German engineering conglomerate Linde is preparing to buy BOC Group, the British company that makes industrial gases, for more than 12 billion euros ($14.4 billion), according to news reports.
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If the deal goes through it would not only be the biggest foreign acquisition by a German company in four years, but give birth to the biggest industrial gas company in the world, overtaking France's Air Liquide.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said BOC had accepted the offer and the last details of the deal could be finalized over the weekend, adding that an announcement could be expected in the coming days.
The Financial Times and Germany's Die Welt also reported that a deal was in the pipeline, saying that Linde was preparing to pay 23.3 euros per share, which brings the offer to 12.4 billion euros.
BOC in January rejected an offer of just over 11 billion euros. Linde officials declined to comment on the reports Sunday but said they would report on the developments on Monday.