PQ Holdings Inc., the chemicals company owned by Carlyle Group LP that filed for an initial public offering last month, has drawn interest from several potential suitors, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Blackstone Group LP (BX), KKR & Co. and Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC have made offers for the business, said the people, who asked not to be named because the sale process is private. Albemarle Corp. (ALB), the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based specialty-chemicals company, is interested in making a bid, one person said. PQ, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, may fetch $3 billion to $4 billion in a sale, two of the people said.
Carlyle acquired PQ, which makes products that are used in everything from marking highways to whitening teeth, for $1.5 billion in 2007. Exploring both a sale and an initial public offering of the business, known as a dual-track process, can help propel a sale by pressuring buyers to act before an IPO puts the company in the hands of public investors.
Representatives for Carlyle, Blackstone, KKR and Clayton Dubilier & Rice declined to comment. Ashley Mendoza, a spokeswoman for Albemarle, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
PQ, which makes silica-based chemicals and specialty glass, filed for a $450 million IPO on Feb. 11. That amount is a placeholder used to calculate registration fees and subject to change, thus doesn’t indicate the company’s valuation. Bank of America Corp., Credit Suisse Group AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are managing the offering, the IPO filing shows.
Acquiring PQ would expand Albemarle’s catalysts business, its largest unit, serving oil refiners and plastics makers. Albemarle also could increase electronics sales in its performance-chemicals unit, with the addition of PQ’s specialty glass business, which sells glass spheres and particles used in electronics and other markets.
PQ, which traces its roots to a Philadelphia soap- and candle-maker founded in 1831, posted revenue of $835.8 million in the nine months through September, up less than 1 percent from the year-earlier period, according to the IPO filing.
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