Verso Paper Having Trouble Completing NewPage Deal

MEMPHIS, TN—Low participation in a debt exchange offer that is critical to completing the deal may kill Verso Paper’s proposed $1.4 billion acquisition of NewPage Holdings, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The critical debt exchange involves exchanging existing debt for another class of debt. The proposed deal would see NewPage Holdings receive $250 million in cash and $650 million in new debt to be issued at the time of the deal, the paper said. Verso would refinance $500 million of NewPage Holdings’ debt. Up to 25 percent of Verso stock would also transfer to NewPage Holdings.

The successful debt-exchange offer was a condition of the merger. Under the deal, the value of debt holders’ claims would be cut by approximately 50 percent.

Judging by the amount of debt offered in the early portion of the exchange period, Verso Paper is concerned that it won’t succeed. The tender offer will remain open through Feb. 10.

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