NOBEL LAUREATES SUPPORT OBAMA

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  • 10WWW.CEN-ONLINE.ORG OCTOBER 6, 2008

    HUNTSMAN CORP. has successfully defended it-self against a lawsuit brought by Hexion Special-ty Chemicals and its owner Apollo Management to scuttle a $10.6 billion deal to buy Huntsman Corp.

    Hexion had argued that the acquisition would create an insolvent business, due in part to Huntsman Corp.s financial performance since the companies agreed to the deal in July 2007. In light of the current poor eco-nomic climate, Hexion also claimed it would be unable to obtain the necessary financing.

    But Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Stephen P. Lamb rejected Hexions claims and determined that the company knowingly and intentionally breached the merger agreement. He has ordered Hexion to use all rea-sonable best efforts to satisfy the conditions of the merg-er and has prohibited it from terminating the agreement.

    Apollos misguided attempt to use 2008s turbulent energy and financial markets to construct a solvency is-sue where none existed has now been exposed, Hunts-man Corp. CEO Peter R. Huntsman says. He is calling on Hexion to fulfill its obligations and proceed to clos-ing. If it doesnt, Hexion could be liable for damages above a $325 million breakup fee.

    As the merger deal grew acrimonious, shareholders saw Huntsman Corp.s market value drop by about $3.7 billion. In a separate Texas lawsuit, Huntsman Corp. still seeks more than $3 billion in damages from Apollo. It claims that the private equity firm interfered with and lured Huntsman Corp. away from a merger with Basell, only to renege on the Hexion deal.

    We have claimed all along that Apollo would resort to any means necessary to break a legal and binding contract, Chairman Jon M. Huntsman says. Apollo was dishonest and untruthful and lost the case.

    In a statement, Hexion expressed disappointment with Judge Lambs decision and said it would review its options. However, the company is seen as having little room to maneuver. Meanwhile, Huntsman Corp. has sued Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, taking the posi-tion that the banks should honor their previous com-mitment to provide financing.ANN THAYER

    IN AN OPEN LETTER to the American people, 62 Nobel Prize winners announced their support for the Democratic candidate for U.S. president, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Of the signers, 14 are Chemistry

    Nobel Laureates.We especially applaud his empha-

    sis during the campaign on the power of science and technology to enhance our nations competitiveness, the Sept. 25 letter said. The signers state that they support Obamas plans for new initiatives in education and training, expanding research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining science advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research.

    The letter was announced in a con-ference call led by three Nobel Prize winners: Harold E. Varmus, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Peter C. Agre, director of the Malaria Research Institute at Johns

    Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and H. Robert Horvitz, a professor of biology at MIT. Varmus is chairman of the Obama science advisory committee.

    The letter criticized the current Administration for engendering a science advisory process distorted by political considerations.

    We wanted the public to be aware of the strong sup-port Sen. Obama enjoys among the nations leading sci-entists and of our conviction that he understands the connection between a vibrant research effort and the countrys economic competitiveness, Varmus said.

    In an interview with C&EN, Agre said the letter shows how scientists are coming together in terms of their views on the candidates. Obama clearly has a much more friendly platform toward science and sci-ence education, he said.

    Agre also disclosed that he has been an informal ad-viser to the Obama campaign, but, for the record, he added, if Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had asked for my advice, I would have done it for him also.

    The same day the letter was released, the Obama campaign announced its plan for U.S. science and inno-vation. The plans five main points are to restore integ-rity in U.S. science policy, double the federal investment in basic research, commit to science education, encour-age U.S. innovation, and address the grand challenges of the 21st century, such as affordable clean energy, healthier lives, and strengthened homeland security.

    The McCain campaign did not respond to requests for comments regarding the scientists letter as C&EN went to press. C&EN covers Obamas and McCains answers to science policy questions on page 27.DAVID HANSON

    NEWS OF THE WEEK

    NOBEL LAUREATES SUPPORT OBAMA

    CAMPAIGN 2008: Letter says Democratic candidate is the best

    choice for science and technology

    HUNTSMAN PREVAILS OVER HEXION

    MERGER: Court finds that Hexion must honor its deal to buy Huntsman

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    14 CHEMISTRY NOBELISTS BACK OBAMAPeter C. Agre (2003)Sidney Altman (1989)Paul Berg (1980)Robert F. Curl Jr. (1996)Johann Diesenhofer (1988)John B. Fenn (2002)Walter Gilbert (1980)Robert H. Grubbs (2005)Dudley R. Herschbach (1986)Roald Hoffmann (1981)Walter Kohn (1998)Roger D. Kornberg (2006)Frank Sherwood Rowland (1995)Richard R. Schrock (2005)

    NOBEL LAUREATES SUPPORT OBAMA