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

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.