Lynn L. Bergeson, “Due diligence in mergers and acquisitions involving chemical products,” Financier Worldwide, October 2022.
The scope of what diligence is due in any corporate transaction has evolved greatly over the past decade, particularly with respect to transactions involving chemical products. Once upon a time, transactional due diligence involving chemical products, whether ‘neat’ (pure) chemicals, formulations or end-use products, typically consisted of a phase I or phase II environmental site assessment (ESA) focusing on identifying contamination derivative of chemical releases into environmental media as effluent, emissions, fugitive releases or waste, as well as quantifying the potential for such releases to pose litigation risks or regulatory enforcement, or require costly remediation. Increasingly, parties to corporate transactions now continue to focus on these liabilities and on the compositional elements of chemical products themselves as potential sources of liability and commercial disruption. This article explains why the transition to chemical product due diligence has been slow and offers a few tips to help assess what diligence is due in corporate transactions involving chemical products.