Consorcio Comex, S.A. de C.V., North America’s fourth-largest paint and coatings maker, said May 14 that its shareholders have sued America's largest paint retailer Sherwin-Williams Co. over a two-year-long, $2.34-billion scuttled acquisition bid that twice failed to clear antitrust hurdles.
Comex with 3,300 retail stores and 16 manufacturing sites, accuses Sherwin-Williams of "serious neglect and constant failures in its conduct."
The acquisition, first announced in November 2012, was "an ideal fit in every respect," Sherwin-Williams said at the time.
But Mexico's Federal Competition Commission claimed a combined company would have 48% to 58% of regional market share—10 times that of its closest competitor—and ordered it to divest parts of its business.
Although Mexican regulators approved Sherwin Williams' $90-million acquisition of Comex business units in the U.S. and Canada in 2013, it still blocked the purchase of the 55-year-old private company’s Mexico operations—by far its largest segment.
Sherwin-Williams, a 148-year-old company with $10.2 billion in revenue last year, wanted Mexico City-based Comex in order to establish a major Latin America presence where Pittsburgh-based rival PPG Industries had been aggressively expanding.
The publicly traded company (NYSE: SHW) later abandoned the mega-deal on April 4 after making "reasonable efforts.”
However, Comex claims that approval seeking efforts were "well below" the established purchase agreement standards.
The Mexican firm's shareholders seek unspecified damages, as a result.
Tthe International Chamber of Commerce has reportedly been asked to arbitrate the conflict.