Times Staff and Wire Reports

Praxair, CBI Reach Agreement on Merger: Praxair Inc. won its pursuit of CBI Industries Inc., as CBI agreed to be bought for $2.2 billion to create one of the biggest producers of industrial gases in the world. The transaction, which is for cash and assumption of debt, will combine Oak Brook, Ill.-based CBI, the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide, with Praxair, the world's third-largest producer of industrial gases. Danbury, Conn.-based Praxair said the acquisition of its rival will lead to more sales, lower costs and more products. The agreement ends a takeover fight that lasted nearly two months. Praxair began a hostile tender offer Nov. 3, saying merger discussions had failed. The agreement assuaged CBI shareholders, many of whom supported Praxair's offer.

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