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DowDuPont into distinct businesses

The new plan, announced in a statement, would divide DowDuPont into three distinct businesses: an agricultural company, a materials science specialist and a specialty products business.

But as part of the reorganization announced on Tuesday, DowDuPont would shift several units that had been destined for the materials science company, which makes plastics and materials, into the specialty products business instead. As a result, the material science company would be smaller than originally planned and the specialty products business bigger.

The new specialty products division will add several businesses that are expected to account for more than $8 billion in combined sales this year. The change is expected to ease concerns by some investors that the materials science company would have too broad a product range, dividing its focus.

After the realignment, the new materials science company, which is expected to be called Dow, is expected to have about $40 billion in annual revenue. The specialty products business would have about $21 billion in annual sales and the agriculture business would have about $14 billion in annual revenue.

Andrew N. Liveris, the DowDuPont executive chairman, said in an interview that the reorganization created a “more focused material company, an exciting specialty products company that will have four distinct, independent businesses that will have growth because they’re best in breed in each of their market verticals.”

“That’s the work we’ve done,” Mr. Liveris said. “If you study any other chemical company out there, they’re still in 30 or 40 markets. There’s been no corporate restructuring of this type, of this value creation, in any sector, let alone the chemicals sector.”

Activist investors had criticized the original plan as unwieldy and unfocused, and the hedge fund Third Point had urged in May that the company be split into six, rather than three, businesses. That suggestion was not accepted, but Third Point’s warning that several units might be “stranded” in the new materials science company appears to have had an effect.

The merger behind DowDuPont was announced in December 2015, bringing together DuPont, the inventor of Kevlar, which was founded more than 200 years ago, and Dow, a maker of plastics and chemicals that is more than a century old.

It has taken nearly two years to complete the transaction as the companies have navigated regulatory concerns.

The European Union signed off on the deal in March after the companies agreed to sell off parts of DuPont’s global pesticide business. In June, the United States Justice Department required the companies to sell certain herbicides, insecticides and plastics products in order for the transaction to proceed.

At the time they announced the transaction, the two companies made clear that they intended to separate the merged company into three. But that plan met opposition from activist investors like the hedge funds Trian Partners and Third Point, which argued that the new companies would each be too large and unfocused.

DowDuPont had been working with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company for several months on the reorganization plan — as part of the merger, a review of the combined company’s operations had been long planned for after regulatory review.

The company’s shares rose 1.9 percent in early trading to $68.13.

Trian Partners, the hedge fund run by the billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, welcomed the announcement on Tuesday, saying it “fully supports the portfolio adjustments announced today by DowDuPont.”

Third Point said it was “pleased to be part of a dialogue that created such a positive outcome for all of DowDuPont’s shareholders.”

Glenview Capital Management, another activist firm that called for changes in the breakup proposal, also praised the new plan.

Activist investors have gone after some of the world’s biggest companies in recent years as their influence has increased.