Coated papers maker Verso Paper is buying NewPage Holdings in a deal valued at $1.4-billion including debt. Privately held NewPage has 11 manufacturing plants in six states, including one in Wickliffe, KY.
Verso President and CEO David Paterson says the buyout will put it in a better position to face increased competition in the digital age. Paterson will lead the combined company and a NewPage official will join the Verso board at closing.
NewPage officials say it’s very early in the merger process and were not ready to comment on the future of the 11 paper mills. However, Nathaniel Garnick, a laywer with New York corporate management firm Sard-Verbinnen, says neither company discussed closing mills during the negotiations and that the possibility of the merged company closing mills in the future was not likely.
The NewPage Wickliffe Mill currently employs nearly 450 workers and manufactures 285,000 tons of paper per year.
The deal was unanimously approved by both companies’ boards and is targeted to close in the second half of the year.