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.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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