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Dutch paints maker Akzo Nobel reportedly is in talks to merge with smaller U.S. rival Axalta Coating Systems, to create a paints and coatings giant worth around $30 billion.

Bottom line: This looks like a high-priced case of offense being the best defense, as Akzo Nobel earlier this year rebuffed repeated takeover offers from Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries.

Related: Akzo Nobel continues the sale process for its specialty chemicals business, with first-round bids expected by year-end. It's unclear how that prospective deal – which has drawn strong private equity interest – will be impacted by last week's collapse of the Clariant/Huntsman Corp. merger due to activist investor opposition.

Analyst view from ING's Stijn Demeester:

"Strategically, the two companies make a good fit and a merger would likely create synergies, especially in terms of buying power. Moreover, an acquisition would make Akzo undigestable for PPG and thus make Axalta the ideal poison pill. However, we see hurdles in terms of valuation as Axalta shareholders would require a more than fair share of the combined group, reflecting the higher valuation/margin Axalta is currently bearing. We would expect a negative share price reaction today because of the execution risk and the reduced PPG optionality."

Go deeper

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.