Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Rock Sold; Price Tag: $4.6 Billion; Alabama-Based Vulcan Is Acquiring the Jacksonville Company

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Rock Sold; Price Tag: $4.6 Billion; Alabama-Based Vulcan Is Acquiring the Jacksonville Company

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS

Jacksonville-based Florida Rock Industries is being acquired by the nation's largest producer of highway construction materials, the companies announced Monday.

Vulcan Materials Co. will pay about $4.6 billion in cash and stock for the company, which has operated in Jacksonville for more than half a century. The combined company will be based in Vulcan's hometown of Birmingham, Ala., although the Florida Rock division will remain headquartered in Jacksonville.

The deal still must be approved by shareholders of Florida Rock - including the Baker family, which founded the company and owns about a quarter of its stock - but the acquisition is structured in a way that means Vulcan's approval is assured.

When the transaction is completed, which is expected by mid-2007, Florida Rock President and Chief Executive Officer John Baker will join Vulcan Materials' board of directors. Tom Baker, Florida Rock's vice president of cement and aggregates, will become president of Vulcan Materials' new Florida Rock Division, which will oversee operations throughout the state. The company operates three crushed stone plants, two base rock plants, nine sand plants and one industrial sand plant in Florida, as well as having its headquarters in Jacksonville.

The company's operations outside of Florida in the country will be integrated into existing Vulcan Materials divisions, creating overlaps among employees, particularly in Georgia, Virginia and Maryland. Florida Rock has about 3,500 employees nationwide.

Workers in those areas where there is overlap will be offered severance packages if they cannot be moved to different jobs, John Baker said.

"We are looking to bring into the combined companies the best people we can find, regardless of which company they work for," said Don James, chairman and CEO of Vulcan.

The deal started coming together when Vulcan approached Florida Rock toward the end of last year, James said, looking to expand its presence in the Sun Belt. "This acquisition fits perfectly in Vulcan's strategic plan, which is to expand our operation in the fastest-growing market in the United States," he said. …

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