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Linde to buy health firm Lincare for $4.6 bn

BERLIN (AP) -- Linde AG, a German-based company that specializes in industrial gases, plans to acquire U.S. home care health company Lincare Holdings Inc. in a deal worth $4.6 billion.

The companies said Sunday night that Linde will make a tender offer of $41.50 per share in cash for all outstanding stock of Lincare, which is based in Clearwater, Florida. They said Lincare's board of directors has unanimously approved the deal and it is expected to close in this year's third quarter.

Linde CEO Wolfgang Reitzle said the acquisition "enables us to take the next big step in this stable, sustainable and profitable business field."

Lincare CEO John P. Byrnes said its board believed that the planned merger "will afford the company benefits it would not be able to realize on its own."