Morton Thiokol Inc., heading off an apparent takeover threat from Dow Chemical Co., traded its Texize home cleaning products division to Dow yesterday for Dow's 1.4 million shares of Morton Thiokol and $131 million in cash.
Dow had amassed the block -- equal to about 8 percent of Morton Thiokol's total stock -- over the past few months and recently asked the Federal Trade Commission for antitrust clearance to boost its stake in Morton Thiokol to 15 percent. It had said, however, that it was buying the stock only as an investment.
With yesterday's announcement dashing Wall Street speculation about a takeover, Morton Thiokol stock sank $6.25 to $83.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Texize business includes such products as Fantastik, Spray 'n' Wash, Yes and Glass Plus. Morton Thiokol, which has its headquarters in Chicago, also makes rocket motors, salt and chemicals. Acquiring the Texize business will augment Dow's line of home products, which already includes Dow Bathroom Cleanser and Saran Wrap. Dow is primarily a chemical company.
The companies did not say in their joint statement whether the transaction, which is to be completed in about 60 days, would end any interest by Dow in acquiring Morton Thiokol. Company officials could not be reached for comment about whether the companies had signed an agreement preventing further purchases of stock.
"I am pleased that Dow Chemical's interest in Morton Thiokol translates into a transaction that benefits both Morton Thiokol and Dow Chemical," Morton Thiokol Chairman Charles S. Locke said in a statement.