RHINELANDER - Wausau Paper today 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 ("Expera").
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, Wisconsin.
Expera will combine the Thilmany business with Wausau Paper's specialty paper business to create a leading 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.
Key highlights of the transaction are as follows:
• The transaction will result in net cash proceeds to Wausau Paper of approximately $110 million after settlement of transaction-related liabilities, transaction costs and taxes.
• Expera will acquire the assets of Wausau Paper's Rhinelander and Mosinee mills; the assets of the company's Brainerd mill are not included in the transaction.
• Wausau Paper will retain defined benefit pension and other post-retirement benefit obligations; however, effective with the closing of the transaction, approximately $41 million of future liability will be eliminated.
• Wausau Paper will not hold any equity ownership in Expera.
• Wausau Paper will have the opportunity to receive a contingent payment that would be equal to what the holder of a 5% equity interest in Expera would receive if certain performance thresholds and KPS liquidity events occur.
Hank Newell, president and CEO of Wausau Paper, commented, "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.
Mesirow Financial, Inc. and Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. have been the financial and legal advisors to Wausau Paper.
WAUSAU - Many of us try to honor our veterans whenever we can.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) added one more way.
The Governor visited several veteran-owned businesses across the state Tuesday for Veteran-Owned Business Day.
Tuesday afternoon he stopped at Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Wausau.
He says veteran-owned businesses are good for other veterans and the economy.
"We found statistically that veterans are about 30 percent more likely to hire fellow veterans as employees," Walker said. "So it's good all the way around."
If you are a veteran-owned business, you can register with the state at WisVets.com
That way you can get a decal that says Wisconsin Veteran-Owned for your business window or door.
You also get listed in a state veteran-owned business directory.
"We're branding it, letting the public know that businesses that are owned by veterans, letting them know whether it's in a sign in their window or whether it's on the website, or other ways that we can draw attention," Walker said.
About 390,000 veterans live in Wisconsin, and about 11 percent of the state's businesses are veteran-owned.
RHINELANDER - Three decades-old signs greet people coming into Rhinelander from various sides. But if you drive past them every day, you likely don't even notice them. Rhinelander wants to make sure those old signs stand out.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to vote.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.
"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."
Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.
Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.
Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.
"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.
Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.
WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.
Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie. Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital. Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
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