WestRock Company and KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (NYSE:KS) (“KapStone”) announced today the signing of a definitive agreement, pursuant to which WestRock will acquire all of the outstanding shares of KapStone for $35.00 per share and will assume approximately $1.36 billion in net debt, for a total enterprise value of approximately $4.9 billion.
Based on KapStone’s annualized EBITDA performance in the second half of its fiscal 2017, WestRock estimates the EV/EBITDA multiples to be under 10 times before and 7 times after the full run rate of expected cost synergies and performance improvements. Upon closing, the acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to WestRock’s adjusted earnings and cash flow, inclusive of purchase accounting adjustments.
KapStone stockholders will have the option to receive $35.00 per share in cash, or to elect to receive 0.4981 WestRock shares per KapStone share, with elections of stock consideration capped at 25% of the outstanding KapStone shares but no limit on the number of KapStone shares that can receive cash consideration. KapStone’s chairman, Roger Stone, and president and chief executive officer, Matt Kaplan, have entered into voting agreements, pursuant to which they have agreed to vote their shares in support of the transaction, subject to certain limitations.
WestRock will finance the cash consideration through the issuance of new debt under a fully committed financing package. WestRock expects to refinance existing KapStone debt assumed as part of the transaction upon closing. WestRock’s expected leverage ratio at the closing of the transaction will be greater than 3.00x, and WestRock expects to return to its stated leverage ratio target of 2.25x to 2.50x by the end of fiscal 2019. The transaction is not conditional on financing.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, KapStone is a leading North American producer and distributor of containerboard, corrugated products and specialty papers, including liner and medium containerboard, kraft papers and saturating kraft. KapStone also owns Victory Packaging, a packaging solutions distribution company with facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. KapStone announces preliminary, unaudited adjusted EBITDA of $130 to $135 million for its fourth quarter 2017.
“KapStone is a great fit with WestRock. Their complementary corrugated packaging and distribution operations will enhance WestRock’s ability to serve customers across our system, particularly in the western United States, and the addition of their specialty kraft paper products that we do not make enhances our differentiated portfolio of paper and packaging solutions,” said Steve Voorhees, chief executive officer of WestRock. “Importantly, KapStone and WestRock share the same dedication to serving customers. We look forward to welcoming the KapStone team members to WestRock and working with them to help make WestRock an even better company.”
“The agreement to combine with WestRock is a testament to the tremendous company we have built and the hard work and accomplishments of the KapStone team,” said Kaplan. “The transaction enables us to deliver an immediate and compelling cash premium to our shareholders. As we began to understand WestRock’s principles, we realized how closely aligned our cultures are. As a result, we believe strongly that this will be beneficial to both our employees and customers.”