Rumour has it that thyssenkrupp and Klöckner & Co have been in closer talks than either side would admit so far. Last Friday Handelsblatt reported that talks are “…tangible,” citing unnamed sources from inside thyssenkrupp.
The proposal that thyssenkrupp’s Materials Services division and Klöckner & Co could be interested in one another came up in the course of the unsuccessful merger with Tata. That merger would have been a solution for thyssenkrupp’s steelmaking activities and stirred up speculation that the firm is also searching for a partner for its distribution business.
The merger came off the table in June, blocked by a veto from the European Commission. But the fantasy of a thyssen-Klöckner approximation remained, this time under thyssen’s newly-formulated strategy of sticking to steel and strengthening production as well as distribution.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Klöckner ceo Gisbert Rühl told Kallanish that the consideration of taking a major stake in tk Materials Services essentially expired after the Tata merger failed. He did not exclude, however, that Klöckner remained open for some form of cooperation, but didn’t seek it actively.
According to Handelsblatt, the idea this time works the other way around, with thyssenkrupp pondering a takeover of Klöckner. This would arguably create the biggest steel distributor in the western world. Both groups when contacted about the reports were unusually very quick with returning calls and stating that they would not comment.