Wausau Paper has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its specialty paper business to a new company sponsored by KPS Capital Partners L.P. (KPS), a New York-based private equity firm with significant experience in the paper industry.
The new company will be known as Expera Specialty Solutions, LLC.
KPS, as previously announced, has also entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the specialty paper business of Packaging Dynamics Corporation (Thilmany), which operates paper mills in De Pere and Kaukauna, WI. Expera will combine the Thilmany business with Wausau Paper’s specialty paper business to create a North American manufacturer of specialty paper products for the food packaging, industrial, and pressure sensitive release liner segments.
A collective bargaining agreement covering employees at the Mosinee, Rhinelander, and Kaukauna facilities has been negotiated and ratified. The collective bargaining agreement and the Thilmany acquisition agreement were both conditions to Wausau Paper entering into its agreement with KPS.
Hank Newell, president and CEO of Wausau Paper, comments, “This transaction accomplishes all of our key objectives: divesting our paper business in a way that creates value for our shareholders, creating a specialty business under new ownership with the scale and product breadth to compete globally, and narrowing our focus to accelerating growth in our tissue business.”
The transaction has received required regulatory approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Other customary conditions to closing, including third party financing, remain. The Wausau Paper sale to Expera is also conditioned upon Expera completing the acquisition of the Thilmany business. While the company expects to finalize the transaction in the second or third quarter of 2013, there can be no certainty or assurance about the timing or completion of a transaction.