The four-month quite period imposed by Delaware judge Leo Strine Jr. expires Friday. Officials with Raleigh-based Martin Marietta have given no signal as to whether they will revive their offer, which called for each outstanding share of Vulcan stock to be exchanged for 0.50 Martin Marietta shares.
Martin Marietta was forced to halt all efforts after Strine ruled in May that the company violated a 2010 confidentiality agreement with Vulcan in making its hostile takeover bid in December. Vulcan's board of directors had earlier rejected Martin Marietta's bid, calling the proposal a lowball offer that seeks to exploit the downturn in U.S. construction spending to acquire a larger rival.
Birmingham, Ala.-based Vulcan and Martin Marietta are two of the largest providers of the crushed stone, sand and gravel used to build roads, subdivisions and commercial buildings. The merger would create the world's largest supplier of such materials, with combined mineral reserves of 28 billion tons in quarries throughout North America.
Martin Marietta's original proposal called for the combined company to be based in Raleigh.
The deal has the support of some Vulcan shareholders, including Vulcan's founding family. A lawsuit filed by members of the Ireland family accused Vulcan's top management of "gross mismanagement" in part because of their rejection of Martin Marietta's.
But renewing the deal carries risks for Martin Marietta. The credit rating agency Moody's downgraded Martin Marietta to junk status in July, citing the financial risks posed by the deal.
There also remain questions about whether the deal will raise significant antitrust concerns among regulators.
Vulcan says there is a significant risk that getting the deal approved would require the divestiture of assets that would hurt the overall value of the combined company.
Martin Marietta says that the divestitures required by regulators would be modest and doable and that a number of buyers have expressed interest in assets that may need to be divested.