What would Wausau Paper sale mean to Central Wisconsin? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

What would Wausau Paper sale mean to Central Wisconsin?


It's an uneasy time in Rhinelander and Mosinee.

"Change is always frightening especially when you have an unknown company to you coming in and taking over," executive editor at BizTimes in Milwaukee, Steve Jagler said.

Wausau Paper, which owns mill in those cities, has just signed a letter of intent to sell them to a private equity firm called KPS Capital Partners. The firm is based in New York.

But what would the sale mean to Central Wisconsin? We asked business expert Steve Jagler. 

"I believe in the end this transaction will be a net positive for Wausau," Jagler said.

In fact, Jagler says KPS Capital Partners has a strong track record of working well with unions.

"Ultimately, this companies end motivation is to make a profit on its investment and that can mean long term play," Jagler explained.

The sale does require the company to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers Union. In a statement, union officials say, "we are anxious to engage in a discussion that will position the new company and its employees for long-term success and operational viability." They went on to say, "we appreciate KPS's constructive approach to doing business."

Wausau Paper officials aren't saying much about the potential sale. Neither is KPS. But, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the sale is expected to close no later than June 15th.

Experts say until the deal is final, both communities will just have to wait to see what happens.

"Time will tell, it's better than the alternative of the company going bankrupt and closing the plants," Jagler said.

In a news release, Wausau Paper officials say the equity firm is also looking to buy another company. They say if the sale is final with both, they will merge the two together to form a new business.

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