Bloomberg News

Airgas Settles Suit Against Cravath Swaine Over Air Products

June 17, 2011

(Updates with details on complaint in second paragraph.)

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- Airgas Inc. said it settled a lawsuit accusing Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP of having access to confidential information while helping rival Air Products & Chemicals Inc. prepare a failed takeover offer.

Airgas, the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based distributor of industrial gases, sued Cravath in state court in Philadelphia in February 2010 claiming the New York firm violated state ethics rules prohibiting conflicts of interest. The case, which sought to bar Cravath from representing Air Products, was later transferred to federal court.

“The lawsuit has been dismissed by agreement of the parties,” Airgas said today in a statement. “The terms of the settlement are confidential.”

Cravath served as Airgas’s legal counsel in at least 25 financing deals from 2001 to October 2009 when it notified the company it could no longer continue in that role because of a conflict.

Air Products pursued Airgas beginning in February 2010 before dropping its $5.9 billion hostile bid a year later after a Delaware judge upheld the company’s anti-takeover defense.

Robin Shanzer, a spokeswoman for Cravath, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The case is Airgas Inc. v. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, 10-612, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

--With assistance from Vivek Shankar in San Francisco. Editors: Glenn Holdcraft, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Sophia Pearson in Wilmington, Delaware, at spearson3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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