Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Acquisition Could Put Georgia-Pacific No. 1

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Acquisition Could Put Georgia-Pacific No. 1

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Georgia-Pacific Corp., better known for its forest and building products, moved yesterday to become the world's largest tissue products manufacturer with a planned $7.7 billion acquisition of Fort James Corp.

The deal, which faces serious scrutiny by antitrust regulators, would create a paper powerhouse; the companies manufactured more than 3 million tons of tissue last year and had nearly $25 billion in revenues.

Under the agreement, Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific will pay about $37 in cash and stock for each share of Fort James and also will assume about $3.5 billion of Fort James debt.

Georgia-Pacific's existing tissue products, which include Angel Soft bathroom tissue and Sparkle paper towels, are dominated by Fort James' brands. The transaction addresses that shortcoming and continues a restructuring of the Atlanta-based company -- the 96th-biggest U.S. company in terms of revenue -- which relies heavily on a now-slowing housing market.

"Today's actions and future divestitures are indicative of the major transformation under way at our company," said A.D. "Pete" Correll, chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia-Pacific, which is No. 2 in the world in forest and paper products behind International Paper Co.

Fort James, the top tissue maker in North America, has been struggling since it was created by the 1997 merger of Green Bay, Wis.-based Fort Howard Corp. and Richmond, Va. …

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