Linde AG and Praxair announced Monday that preliminary discussions about a merger between the industrial gas giants have been terminated.
Reports last month said that a deal could have created a market-leading $60 billion company, but The Wall Street Journal indicated that while Linde sought an equal merger, Praxair was interested in an outright acquisition.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported that the deal was likely to face harsh scrutiny from antitrust regulators.
Linde said in a statement that although talks with its rival confirmed "the strategic rationale of a merger," agreements on governance matters and other details "did not result in a mutual understanding."
Shares of Germany-based Linde fell sharply in the wake of the news, according to the Associated Press.