Veolia and Suez announced a merger deal on Monday worth nearly 13 billion euros ($15.44 billion) after months of wrangling between the two French waste and water management companies

Rivals since the 19th century, Veolia pursued the smaller Suez arguing that together they could better fight off new global challengers emerging in China.

The companies would also be better placed to innovate in growth areas such as environmental services and recycling, Veolia said.

The agreement values Suez at 20.50 euros ($24.4) per share or 12.8 billion euros, the companies said, after Veolia, which already owns 29.9% of the group, lifted its bid price from 18 euros.

Shares in Veolia were up over 9% and Suez climbed 7.8% by 1423 GMT.

“The time for confrontation is over,” Veolia CEO and Chairman Antoine Frerot said in a statement.

Paris-based Suez rebuffed Veolia’s advances since its rival bought a stake in the firm last October, and in February it rejected a 11.3 billion euro takeover bid.

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Source: Reuters