Irish building supplies group CRH says it agreed to pay US$7.35 billion for assets Lafarge and Holcim were obliged to sell ahead of their planned merger.
CRH said it will fund the acquisition with cash, new debt and a 9.99 percent equity placing. It beat the offer of a consortium led by Blackstone, whom several people familiar with the matter told Reuters were also in the running. The Blackstone consortium, which also includes Cinven and Canadian pension fund CPP, bid US$6.2 billion, sources said.
Already the leading producer of asphalt for highway construction in the US, CRH said in a statement that a stock market announcement setting out the full details of the acquisition would be released soon.
France's Lafarge and Swiss peer Holcim announced merger plans last year, hoping to cut costs and tackle overcapacity and weak demand. The new company will be the world's biggest cement maker with US$44 billion in annual sales.
A person familiar with the process had said that CRH had a better opportunity to benefit than buyout groups because it can integrate the assets into its own business, and could therefore offer a higher price.
The companies initially received more than 60 tentative bids from industry and private equity firms for some or all of the assets, which they must sell before completing the merger.