International Paper Agrees to Merge xpedx with Unisource Worldwide
Resulting new distribution company “will be even better positioned to provide the products, services, and ideas to support our customers’ businesses.”
International Paper has announced that its xpedx business will merge with Unisource Worldwide under the terms of an agreement that will then result in the creation of a new publicly traded company. The merger is expected to be completed in mid-2014.
Mary Laschinger, president of xpedx and senior vice president at International Paper, will become CEO of the new company and chairman of its board of directors. Allan Dragone, currently president and CEO of Unisource Worldwide, will serve as a director of the new company and will advise on integration activities.
“We’re bringing together two well-established distribution businesses to create a new company with the financial stability and strategic focus to strengthen and grow our core businesses,” says Laschinger. “Combined, the new company will be even better positioned to provide the products, services, and ideas to support our customers’ businesses.”
In a press release, International Paper states that the new company “will have projected annual revenue in the range of $9 billion to $10 billion, and will have about 9500 team members across more than 170 distribution centers in North America.” The new company’s executive offices will be located in the greater Atlanta area. In addition, the new company will retain the two existing operational headquarters of the legacy companies in Loveland, Ohio, and in Norcross, Georgia.
In addition to Laschinger and Dragone, other directors of the new company will include: William E. Mitchell (retired chairman and CEO, Arrow Electronics, and founder of Sequel Capital Management); Daniel T. Henry (retired executive vice president and CFO, American Express); Tracy Leinbach (retired executive vice president and CFO, Ryder System); John Zillmer (retired chairman, president and CEO, Univar); Michael Muldowney (former CFO and interim CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, and founder and CEO of Foxford Capital); Charles G. Ward (partner, Perella Weinberg Partners, and former president of Lazard Ltd.); and Seth Meisel (managing director, Bain Capital).
xpedx was created in 1998 by International Paper after its acquisition of several paper-merchant companies in the mid-1980s. Today, it is a distributor of a wide variety of printing, packaging, and facility supplies and equipment to print shops, manufacturers, retailers, and commercial facilities. In addition, it operates Bulkley Dunton, a paper brokerage business, and Saalfield Redistribution, and has a business-to-business e-commerce hub.
Unisource was originally a division of Alco Standard Corporation (founded 1968), and split off from its parent company in 1996. The company was acquired by Georgia-Pacific in 1999, and Bain Capital gained a 60-percent ownership of the company in 2002. It distributes and markets commercial printing and business imaging papers, facility supplies and equipment, and packaging materials and equipment; it also offers engineered packaging design, paper-procurement services, facilities management, logistical expertise, and more.