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International Paper makes US$7B offer for DS Smith, sparking possible bidding war with Mondi

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International Paper makes US$7B offer for DS Smith, sparking possible bidding war with Mondi

DS Smith confirmed yesterday it is in discussions with US rival International Paper (IP) for a possible all-share takeover worth a potential £5.72 billion (US$7.22 billion). IP’s bid would trump the acquisition agreement made this month with Mondi, who offered £5.14 billion (US$6.57 billion) for a merger. 

Source: PackagingInsights

While the Mondi merger was agreed upon in principle, no formal proceedings have begun, and DS Smith could choose to change course with a better offer on the table. If IP decides to make a formal offer, it will raise the likelihood of a bidding war with Mondi. 

In a statement, DS Smith’s board says that it “acknowledges the strategic merits and potential for value creation through a combination with International Paper” but that there is no certainty whether a formal offer will be made.

IP has a market capitalization of US$14.15 billion, making it larger (in valuation) than both DS Smith and Mondi.

Since the announcement, IP’s share price dropped 6.5%, while DS Smith’s rose 7.7%.

The packaging market has been undergoing a period of consolidation since Smurfit Kappa agreed to merge with WestRock in a tie-up worth an estimated US$34 billion last year.

Following that agreement, mergers and acquisitions have been on the rise. Notably, Graphic Packaging announced the sale of its Augusta, US, bleached paperboard manufacturing facility to Clearwater Paper for US$700 million.

Also, Constantia Flexibles signed an agreement to acquire approximately 57% of the shares of packaging producer Aluflexpack.

We will be updating our coverage of the story as it unfolds.

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