LONDON (AP) _ Britain's Courtaulds PLC said today it has agreed to a $3 billion buyout offer from Akzo Nobel in a deal that will solidify the Dutch company's position as the world leader in paints.

The sale is subject to approval by shareholders.

Courtaulds said its paint and sealants business would complement Akzo operations, but conceded there are ``areas of overlap.''

But Akzo chairman Cees van Lede said layoffs would be ``negligible.'' Akzo employs 68,000 people worldwide and Courtaulds 17,000.

Akzo will pay 450 pence (about $7.515 cents) for each Courtaulds ordinary share. That was 66 percent higher than Courtaulds had been trading before announcing a major restructuring in February.

Under the restructuring Courtaulds split its two principal businesses _ fibers and chemicals versus coatings and sealants _ into separate operations. It also announced plans to sell its polymer products division.

Akzo intends to combine Courtaulds' fibers and chemicals business with its existing fibers group and endorses the planned disposal of Courtaulds' polymer products division.

Courtaulds products include the manmade fiber Tencel and the shipping paint International.