Bank of America sizes up interest in potential deal for Huntsman


BANK OF America Merrill Lynch has reached out to several top US private equity firms to gauge their interest in a potential deal for Huntsman, sources said, in the latest sign the US chemicals company may be considering a sale.

KKR Co, Bain Capital, Advent International and Warburg Pincus are among private equity firms the bankers have reached out to in recent weeks, the sources added.

Huntsman has a market value of about $2.8 billion and nearly $4 billion of debt, according to Reuters data. It could not be learned whether Bank of America, which has a close relationship with Huntsman, was making the calls on behalf of Huntsman or on its own behalf.

Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America, advised Huntsman when it tried to sell itself in 2007. Huntsman, Bank of America and the private equity firms declined to comment. The calls come after Huntsman’s founder, Jon Huntsman, said in March the company was open to all options to create shareholder value.

Huntsman was founded in 1970 and is now run by Jon Huntsmans son, Peter. The elder Huntsman and his family still hold nearly 20 per cent of its shares. One of Huntsman’s other sons is Jon Huntsman, the former US ambassador to China, who tried but failed to become the Republican candidate in this year’s presidential election. – (Reuters)