International Paper Co. (NYSE:IP), the world’s largest maker of office paper, is in talks about combining its xpedx unit with Unisource Worldwide Inc. to form a new distributor of printing and packaging.
A deal may be in the form of a so-called Reverse Morris Trust in which International Paper would contribute xpedx’s assets, the Memphis, Tenn.-based company said today in a statement. It “would be spun off to International Paper shareholders and immediately thereafter merged with Unisource in a transaction intended to be tax-free to International Paper and its shareholders,” according to the statement.
Relative ownership of the merged company by International Paper and Unisource shareholders will be determined in further talks between the two companies, according to the statement.
“This is a unique opportunity for xpedx and Unisource to create a new company that is stronger, more competitive and provide even greater value to customers,” International Paper chief executive officer John Faraci said today in the statement.
Unisource, based in Norcross, Georgia, is privately held and is “one of the largest independent distributors and marketers of more than 150,000 national and private-label products” in North America, according to its website.
Xpedx operating profit fell 17 percent last year to $71 million on sales of $6.04 billion, according to a presentation on International Paper’s website.