(Bloomberg) -- Johnson Matthey Plc's shares climbed the most since April after a report that Tata Chemicals Ltd. was in discussions to buy the chemical firm's battery materials business.
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A deal for the unit could fetch $500 million to $700 million, Mint reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the plan. The talks began after the London-based company decided to exit the business and Tata Chemicals is one of the frontrunners to acquire the assets, the sources told the newspaper.
Johnson Matthey shares advanced as much as 5.5% in London, trimming losses for the year. Tata Chemicals rose as much as 4%.
Earlier this month, Johnson Matthey said it would abandon its push into battery materials, a major reorientation after betting on batteries to eventually replace its catalytic converter business.
The leading maker of pollution-reducing catalytic converters had invested millions of dollars on developing the eLNO cathode -- a crucial component of an electric car's battery that would cut the consumption of cobalt -- but stopped the project earlier in November, citing competition.
A Tata spokesperson declined to comment to Mint. A spokesperson for Johnson Matthey said the company announced earlier this month that it's looking for a buyer for its materials business and it's too early to comment on any discussions.
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