(Reuters) Dow Chemical Co and DuPont are in merger talks, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
The merger would be followed by a three-way breakup of the combined company, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
As of Tuesday's close, Dow had a market valuation of $58.97 billion, while DuPont was valued at $58.37 billion.
Dow's chief executive, Andrew Liveris, is expected to be executive chairman of the new company, with DuPont Chief Executive Officer Edward Breen retaining that title, according to the Journal, which first reported the merger talks.
The companies could announce a merger in the coming days, the sources told the Journal. A deal has not yet been reached and the talks could fall apart, the Journal added.
Dow spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra told Reuters in an emailed statement that the company does not comment on speculation.
DuPont was not immediately available for comment.
DuPont, under Breen, who took over as CEO last month, has been in talks with rivals, including Dow, about its agriculture business.
Meanwhile, Dow has been reviewing all options for its farm chemicals and seeds unit, which has reported falling sales for nearly a year.
(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Additional reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler)