The Wall Street Journal originally reported the M&A rumor, and Praxair confirmed the potential merger via press release:
Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) today confirmed that it is currently in preliminary discussions with Linde AG regarding a potential merger. These discussions are ongoing and there can be no assurance that they will result in a transaction, or on what terms any transaction may occur. Praxair does not intend to comment further at this time.
Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 300 company with 2015 sales of $11 billion, is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others. More information about Praxair, Inc. is available at www.praxair.com.
If completed, the deal would create an industrial behemoth with a $60 billion market cap. From Fortune.com:
Linde has a strong position in healthcare gases in North America, while Praxair is more focused on industrial on-site production, which means a market share of close to 50% resulting from a merger should not spark opposition from U.S. anti-trust regulators, analysts said.
Baader Helvea analyst Markus Mayer said overlaps in the rest of the world could help generate synergies of up to 800 million euros in a merger.
Praxair shares rose $4.36 (+3.69%) to $122.39 in Tuesday afternoon trading. PX has now gained 20% year-to-date: