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(Bloomberg) -- Activist hedge fund Corvex Management has built a stake in Clariant AG in a move designed to undo the Swiss chemicals maker’s $6.4 billion planned takeover of Huntsman Corp., according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Corvex, which has built a stake in Clariant that exceeds the disclosure threshold of 3 percent, plans to push the company to explore alternatives to the deal including a potential sale, said the people, who asked not to be named because the situation is private.

The activist investor believes the Huntsman acquisition, which was championed by Clariant Chief Executive Officer Hariolf Kottmann, lacks strategic rationale, the people said.

A representative for Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant had no immediate comment, while Corvex couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Clariant agreed to buy Texas-based Huntsman in an all-stock deal unveiled in May that the companies described as a merger of equals. The deal was met with a lukewarm response from shareholders as the Swiss company, which had long been cited as a takeover target itself, had attracted investors betting on a buyout.

Corvex was formed at the end of 2010 by Keith Meister, who previously worked for billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn. The New York-based fund has active investments in companies including Energen Corp. and Pandora Media Inc. and disclosed new equity stakes in 10 companies including Facebook Inc., Praxair Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive Co., according to its latest regulatory filing.

Activism in Switzerland took center stage last month when Dan Loeb’s Third Point confirmed it’s amassed a $3.5 billion stake in Nestle SA, targeting Europe’s largest company by market value in the biggest bet of his two-decade career as an activist investor. Activist investors, which traditionally focus on the U.S., have been drawn by surging equity markets in Europe and a stronger economic backdrop.

Almost 600 activist campaigns have been launched against U.S. companies since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, compared with fewer than 100 against targets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

--With assistance from Jan-Henrik Förster Ruth David Dinesh Nair Alice Baghdjian Eyk Henning and Manuel Baigorri

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Noël in London at anoel@bloomberg.net, Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tara Patel at tpatel2@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Fournier at efournier5@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Devin Banerjee

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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