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Exclusive: Buyout firm Apollo makes $4.3 billion offer to buy Tronox -sources

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By Greg Roumeliotis

(Reuters) - Private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc has approached Tronox Holdings Plc, one of the world's largest pigment manufacturers, with a $4.3 billion all-cash offer, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Apollo has offered $27 per share to buy Stamford, Connecticut-based Tronox, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Tronox has hired advisers to consider the bid and has yet to decide on its next steps, the sources added.

Tronox shares were hovering around $20 on Monday morning, prior to Apollo's offer being reported. They jumped 17% to $24.02 on news of Apollo's acquisition interest.

The sources cautioned that there is no certainty that Tronox will agree to any deal.

Apollo declined to comment. Tronox did not respond to a request for comment.

Tronox makes titanium dioxide pigment and other chemicals used to add brightness and durability to paints, plastics and paper.

The COVID-19 pandemic weighed on demand for many of Tronox's products, but the company has said its core markets are recovering as the world's major economies bounce back.

Tronox was spun out of Kerr-McGee Corp in 2005, and in 2019 it acquired the titanium dioxide business of Saudi Arabia's National Titanium Dioxide Company Ltd from Saudi Arabia's Tasnee. Tasnee, through a subsidiary, is now Tronox's biggest shareholder with a 24% stake.

Tronox in March named its top executives John Romano and Jean-Francois Turgeon as co-chief executives after its previous CEO Jeffry Quinn was referenced, without being mentioned by name, in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaints alleging insider trading at Ferro Corp, another chemicals company where Quinn served as board director. Tronox did not disclose whether Quinn was accused of any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Nick Zieminski)

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