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Verso sees takeover bid from Atlas Holdings

AN AERIAL VIEW of the Verso Corp. pulp and paper mill in Quinnesec.

MIAMISBURG, Ohio — Verso Corporation confirmed Wednesday it has received an unsolicited takeover bid from Atlas Holdings LLC.

Specifically, the proposal from Atlas Holdings LLC regards a potential transaction to acquire all outstanding shares of Class A common stock for $20 per share in cash.

“Consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities, Verso’s Board of Directors, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, will carefully review and evaluate the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of Verso and its stockholders,” Verso said in a press release issued before markets opened Wednesday.

Shares of Verso (NYSE: VRS) rose Wednesday, at one point hitting a 52-week high of $19.80 per share. The stock closed at $19.76 Thursday.

“Verso stockholders need take no action at this time. There can be no assurance that any negotiations between Verso and Atlas Holdings LLC regarding this proposal will take place, and if such negotiations do take place, there can be no assurance that any transaction with Atlas Holdings LLC will occur or be consummated,” Verso said in its release Wednesday.

The company does not intend to make an additional comments on the acquisition proposal unless and until it deems it is appropriate to do so or a formal agreement has been reached.

According to its website, Atlas Holdings LLC, based in Greenwich, Conn., was founded in 2002. The company and its affiliates own 23 companies across a variety of sectors including business and industrial, food and beverage, power generation, automotive, business solutions, building materials and metals. In the paper and pulp sector, Atlas holds Finch Paper, LSC, Marcal, Millar Western, and Twin Rivers Paper Company.

“Atlas specializes in a unique, focused approach to buying and building our businesses, often centered on investing in operating companies undergoing complex operational and financial challenges,” a statement on the Atlas website.

Verso, which is headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, operates the Escanaba and Quinnesec paper mills as well as a converting facility in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. The Wisconsin Rapids plant was idled in July of 2020 as a result of what Verso described as “unprecedented market decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic” and as part of a plan “to reposition the company for future success.”

The company has divested itself of three mills since the beginning of 2020. The mills in Androscoggin, Maine, and Stevens Point, Wis., were sold to Pixelle in early 2020. The Duluth, Minn., mill was sold to ST Paper 1 LLC on May 13. The Duluth mill had been idled since June 2020.

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