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From the archives: The 2010s

The chemical deal of the century

by Alexander H. Tullo
December 16, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 41

C&EN's From the Archives logo.

On Dec. 11, 2015, Dow Chemical and DuPont unveiled their $130 billion merger. In the chemical news business, “Dow merges with DuPont” was long a joke, a “when pigs fly” expression for the biggest story that could break—but that no one expected actually would. What’s more, on the same day, Dow announced that it was buying out Corning in the decades-old Dow Corning silicone joint venture. It turned out that Dow CEO Andrew Liveris had been considering the bold idea of merging with DuPont for some time, and when Edward Breen became DuPont’s CEO in November 2015, Liveris found a willing negotiating partner. An activist investor, Nelson Peltz, had been hounding DuPont to streamline. Moreover, Monsanto’s failed bid for Syngenta earlier in the year kicked off merger fever in agricultural chemicals. The plan was for DowDuPont to be a temporary entity that would later split in three. The agricultural chemical and seed divisions of Dow and DuPont would become one company. Commodity-focused businesses, like polymer units from both firms, would go to a materials science company. A specialty product company would combine Dow and DuPont businesses in electronic materials, food ingredients, and protective materials like Kevlar. With a few modifications, Liveris and Breen kept to this plan, creating the present-day Corteva Agriscience, Dow, and DuPont. Notable, too, is how C&EN reported the big news. On Dec. 9, before the announcement was official, C&EN published an online story about rumors of the coming transaction. On Dec. 11 itself, we published a quick story on our website in the morning and a more in-depth piece later in the day after the CEO conference call. When C&EN began back in 1923, the technology to be so responsive to unfolding events wasn’t at our disposal.

A screengrab of a previous C&EN news story about the merge of Dow Chemical and DuPont from 2015.


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