Alcoa Inc. launched a hostile $27 billion bid for Canadian aluminum rival Alcan Inc. after failing in almost two years of private talks to reach a negotiated deal. According to Alcoa, the deal would create a premier diversified global aluminum company that would grow faster than the two companies could independently. The combined company, with 188,000 employees in 67 countries, would have had revenues of $54 billion and earnings of $9.5 billion last year. The combined company’s alumina capacity would be about 21.5 million metric tons, and its aluminum capacity would be approximately 7.8 million metric tons.

Until recently both Alcoa and Alcan were the world’s top two producers of aluminum, but they are now behind Russia’s Rusal. The Alcan deal would spring Alcoa past Rusal in aluminum production. The transaction is subject to review by antitrust authorities in the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and Brazil, as well as foreign investment clearance in Canada, France and Australia. Alcoa founded Alcan in 1902, split it off as a separate company in 1928 and retained largely common ownership until 1951 when major shareholdings were divested by a U.S. court order because of antitrust issues. Alcoa said they will allay fears by divesting certain assets.