updated 2/26/2007 4:56:57 PM ET 2007-02-26T21:56:57

Shares of Dow Chemical Co. rose to a new 52-week high Monday after a British tabloid reported the chemicals maker may be on the verge of selling itself to a group of private equity investors.

The tabloid, the Daily Express, reported private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group, are considering a $60-per-share offer for Dow Chemical.

With $49.12 billion in sales last year, Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical makes about 3,500 chemicals and plastics used to manufacture a wide range of products including cars, electronics, food and appliances.

Dow Chemical's market value as of Friday's close was $41.25 billion. The reported offer represents a 38.1 percent premium to Dow Chemical's stock, based on Friday's closing price.

Buckingham Research analyst John E. Roberts wrote in a research report the Daily Express doesn't normally break acquisition stories and he considers the source less reliable than other publications. He even suggested the newspaper may have confused Dow Chemical with TXU Corp., which agreed to sell itself to private equity investors for $32 billion.

Roberts said Dow Chemical would be a difficult company to break up. It's tightly integrated, he said, and is run by young executives he believes are committed to the company's strategy.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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