Nov 17 (Reuters) - France's Air Liquide SA is in talks to acquire U.S. peer Airgas Inc to significantly expand its position as a supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The negotiations are advanced and Air Liquide has approached banks to secure financing for the acquisition of Airgas, which has a market capitalization of close to $8 billion, the source said on Tuesday, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Airgas and Air Liquide did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Shares of Airgas were trading up 6.5 percent at $113 in New York after Bloomberg News first reported on the talks. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)