Price of lunch with Warren Buffett already over $3.5M (copy)

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is Axalta Coating Systems' largest investor, holding 10% of shares outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Axalta Coating Systems surged Wednesday as the frequent takeover target backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway put itself up for a possible sale as part of a “comprehensive” review of strategic options.

A special committee will also look at changes in capital allocation and how the company is executing its strategic plan, the maker of automotive coatings said in a statement Wednesday. The committee will be led by independent director Mark Garrett and include CEO Robert Bryant and independent director Samuel Smolik.

Axalta long has been on the radar of large coatings companies, including PPG Industries, Akzo Nobel and Nippon Paint Holdings. With a market value of $6 billion, Axalta’s size could move the needle for a large player with fewer complications and antitrust hurdles that would potentially accompany a merger of equals.

“This is the next round of the continuing consolidation we have seen in the coatings industry, and it is not a surprise that Axalta are looking at its options for its business while there is still a positive valuation and financing environment,” said Martin Bastian, managing director and head of European Chemicals at Houlihan Lokey.

Axalta stock closed Wednesday up 13.59%.

Sold by DuPont in 2013, Philadelphia-based Axalta was overhauled under the ownership of Carlyle Group, which installed industry veteran Charlie Shaver as CEO. When Carlyle exited three years ago, it was the private equity firm’s best returning investment for 28 years.

Buffett’s Berkshire is Axalta’s largest investor, holding 10% of shares outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The supplier of spray paint and metal treatments for automotive chassis is testing the waters amid a healthy appetite for deals in the sector. There’s been no respite in the historically high levels of chemical mergers this year.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns the Omaha World-Herald.

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