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Lithium battery boom drives $6.2 billion deal

The race to control the world’s biggest source of lithium used in everything from iPad batteries to electric cars and everyday drugs is on. Albemarle Corp. agreed today to pay $6.2 billion in cash and stock for Princeton, New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings Inc., the largest lithium producer. Rockwood is one of four companies that control about 90 percent of the market for lithium. Demand for the metal will expand as much as three times faster than the overall economy, Baton Rogue, Louisiana-based Albemarle said today in an investor presentation. “Growth in lithium will come from the continued proliferation of electronic devices as well as energy storage, with the prospects for...

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